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Google planning music download store 'with a twist'

The company's Android boss, Andy Rubin, says that the service is "close" to launching, with the search giant's own spin on it.

Don Reisinger
Former CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
2 min read

Google is planning to launch a music download service to complement its music locker, the company's Android chief Andy Rubin said today at the All Things Digital AsiaD conference in Hong Kong.

Responding to a question on his company's plans for a music service, Rubin said that Google is "close" to launching an offering that would allow customers to download music. And to distinguish it from rivals, he said, Google's offering will "have a little twist--it will have a little Google in it."

Google launched its music locker service, Music Beta, earlier this year. The offering allows users to upload and access their music in the cloud, but it lacks a download store. The omission is notable, considering its two main competitors, Apple and Amazon, have music-downloading stores available to customers.

Rubin's comments are confirmation of a report from last week, claiming Google was working on launching a music download service. Sources with knowledge of the talks told CNET last week that Google has still not finalized any agreements with labels, and an earlier report from the New York Times said the store likely won't launch for several weeks.

That said, Google has been to this point before. Last year, the company was in negotiations with music labels, sources told CNET at the time, but talks broke down after the labels and the search giant couldn't come to an agreement.

Rubin wouldn't say today when his company's store would launch, but he did acknowledge that Google has faced some trouble with media company negotiations in the past.

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

Google did not immediately respond to CNET's request for more information on its music-download service.