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Google muscles in on music and ebooks

October 27, 2009
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from   David Flynn27 October 2009

The search supremo is tipped to launch an online music service this week, with the Google Editions ebook store to follow next year.


Google is set to enter the online music market this week, launching a new service in partnership with social music services iLike and Lala, MySpace Music and major record labels.

The venture, which some have tagged Google Audio (although that sounds equal parts bland and lame), is said to integrate music into Google’s search engine and allow streaming as well as downloads from its partners.

For example, Lala offers streaming music to which users can listen for free for the first play, and then buy ongoing streaming rights for US10c to add it to their personal online Lala library or US89c to download a DRM-free MP3 track.

Google has also announced plans to launch an online ebook store named Google Editions, selling titles in a format that’s compatible with any Web browser.

For several years Google has scanned printed books top make them searchable on the Web, and Google Editions represents an attempt to monetize that work.

Google Editions isn’t expected until sometime in the first half of 2010, with customers able to buy titles directly from Google or through other online stores including  Amazon.com and Barnesandnoble.com.

Both of those companies are already producing their own dedicated ebook readers, with Amazon launching the international version of Kindle in Australia this week, while Barnes & Noble announced its competing Nook device.

Google has ruled out producing its own ebook reader. Speaking at the Frankfurt Book Fair, where the initiative was revealed, Google director of strategic partnerships Tom Turvey said “We’re not focused on a dedicated e-reader or device of any kind”.

However, Google doesn’t produce its own smartphones – yet that hasn’t stopped mobile phone juggernauts such as HTC, Samsung and Motorola making smartphones running Google’s Android operating system.

Indeed, Barnes & Noble’s Nook already runs on Android, and there’s nothing to stop any other manufacturer from releasing their own readers based on the open-source OS.

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