Rumor: Google to launch music store?

Google may finally be getting ready to launch its own version of Apple's iTunes music download service. The New York Times reports via unnamed sources that Google is in talks with the major music publishers to obtain the rights to offer their tracks on Google's upcoming store. The story claims that Google's music service would be linked to Music Beta, a previously launched feature that lets people store music on Google's cloud servers and then stream those music tracks to other devices. Google first launched Music Beta back in May with no agreements made with the major music publishers.

This new music store from Google would not just offer streaming music but will also allow users to download MP3 music files to devices. Ironically, Google is trying to launch this service while Apple offers its iCloud streaming service to iTunes users this week. The report claims that Google wants to launch its new music store before Apple launches iTunes Match, which is designed to link a user's music collection to Apple's music library. It should be available for iTunes users by the end of the month. But the story adds that Google may not be able to close their talks with the various music publishers before iTunes Match goes live.

In addition to iTunes, Google's music service would also compete with Amazon's well established online music service. Amazon offers both a downloadable MP3 music store along with a cloud storage service and player; the company's upcoming Kindle Fire tablet will be able to access both services.

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