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Google Tunes on the way . . . but of course there's a twist!


By Noel Young, Correspondent

October 20, 2011 | 3 min read

A new music service from Google is on the way, maybe even next month! The search giant is to close to unveiling its offering , which will apparently mix digital downloads with cloud storage, according to reports out of Hong Kong.

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Google’s head of Android, Andy Rubin, confirmed reports of an upcoming launch at All Things D’s AsiaD conference there. “I think we’re close,” he said.

Rubin told AdWeek the new music provider would not be another iTunes. The Google version “will have a little twist,” he said. “It will have a little Google in it. It won’t just be selling 99 cent tracks.”

One strong suggestion: it may allow users to share purchased songs with others for a specified period.

Google launched a cloud music service, Music Beta by Google, earlier this year. By invitation only, it allowed users to upload and stream music—up to 20,000 tracks—on Google-linked phones and devices.

The new Google service would connect an MP3 store to the existing cloud storage system, putting it head-to-head with Apple and Amazon’s download stores.

Rubin did not say when the the launch would take place. Business Insider, quoting an unnamed source, said it would be the fourth quarter of 2011. The Guardian and The New York Times both suggested it could be as soon as November.

What was not clear last night was if Google had done enough to convince the record companies that a deal was worthwhile. Rubin agreed Google’s reputation as a search engine may have contributed to the breakdown of earlier negotiations.

"Google is in the very early phases of adding consumer products to our portfolio," he said at the AsiaD event. "The media industry didn't see us as that. They saw us as a search company."

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