Google to disclose World Music Beta by Google on Tuesday

The news will answer months of speculation that Google has been working on a cloud-based music service. Industry analysts have long speculated that Google could be developing a social network, and that music could play a giant role in it.

Google confirmed late last night that it is set to launch an online music service at its annual Google I/O developer’s conference Tuesday.

A Google spokeswoman told Computerworld the company is unveiling what is been dubbed Music Beta by Google in the coursework of the opening day of the conference, which is being held in San Francisco.

The Google spokeswoman did not elaborate on what the music service, but the Wall Street Journal, citing unnamed sources, reported on Monday that Google planned to unveil a music service this week. The document speculated that the service would resemble Amazon's Cloud Player, a cloud-based service announced in late March.

"Certainly, this might be social because you could share what you are listening to with all of your friends," said Rob Enderle, an analyst with the Enderle Group. "This definitely could be used as a first step to Google beginning a social network.”

Google's music service is designed to enable users to upload songs and then stream them onto Smartphone or PCs, according to the Journal, which added that Google has not secured licenses from the major recorded-music companies, so the service would not permit people to download music.

If Google does release a music service, it would compete with Amazon's new service, as well as, to a lesser extent, with other industry players like Apple's hugely popular iTunes and Rhapsody offerings.

"This competes with all of the [online music services] in lots of ways," said Enderle. "You're only going to listen to song at a time no matter what service you are using. This is much more limited but I would expect it to be a hell of a lot cheaper. You are limited to whatever music you have access to. You would not have access to a immense repository."
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