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Google May Soon Launch Apple iTunes Rival

“Google is working away on a social networking platform behind closed doors”

Reports are swirling around the Internet that Google is in the advanced stages of testing a music service that could one day rival Apple iTunes. The reports come amid ongoing online murmurings that Google is working away on a social networking platform behind closed doors.

Google Music

Analysts on Google Music

For months now, online chatter has focused on whether Google is secretly trying to build its own social network, which would focus on gaming, music and/or movies. Potential names for the service include Google Me and Google Circle. Analysts say Google Music is not likely to be the social platform that the industry has been anticipating. However, some do note that it could be a big piece of Google's social puzzle.

Hadley Reynolds, an analyst with IDC, agreed that Google Music won't be the company's social platform. "The music service category is well-defined on its own terms at this point," he said. Reynolds said it would be a good idea for Google to take on Apple and its popular iTunes service. While iTunes has had a significant head start, a similar service from Google for Android devices could chip away at Apple in a lucrative business.

Amazon Cloud Drive

Amazon.com announced today that its new Cloud Drive online storage service will enables users to store music in the cloud and, in the U.S., stream it to an Android app. Previously, Amazon has offered an MP3 store where customers can buy music using a Web browser or the MP3 app for Android, which now includes the Cloud Player functionality. That means Google, Apple and Amazon may just be vying for a lot of the same customers.

Shimmin said Google has a good shot at making a go of a music service if it's able to build a strong record label ecosystem.

"I don't think this can turn into a losing proposition for Google," he added. "I think it's an important move to further secure and bolster Android's popularity as a mobile device capable of matching Apple's iOS blow for blow."

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