Google’s innovators have been busy again. The latest product is an Android music store. Eponymously titled Google Music and available on Android handsets, it aims to provide genuine competition to Apple and their iPhone equivalents.
The service is currently only available in the US, with users able to download music from a variety of labels, major and independent, the notable exception being Warner Music. Which means users can’t access tunes from the likes of Muse, The Smiths or Prince.
The question is whether Google Music can break the mould of its other failed copycat releases? Google Wave failed to rival Skype and Google Buzz was no real competition to Facebook Chat, so can Google Music realistically give Apple’s iTunes platform a run for its money? The system itself does have an advantage – with more than 60 million Android devices there should be no problem enticing users to give it a go. The problem is convincing them it’s better than what is already available. There are certain features which make Google Music stand out, for example users can to listen to their friends’ tracks once all the way through before choosing whether or not to purchase.
Google has never shied away from a new product release, but some will argue that the quality-over-quantity principle was never quite signed off in the Google constitution. So how can Google be qualified? An innovative company with confidence in employees’ ideas, or a company with one fantastic product choosing to copycat other’s creations? There is no doubting Google enjoys creating rival systems to extend choice, but its eagerness often leaves the products short and patience will inevitably wear thin.
If nothing else, Google should be admired for its willingness to give things ago. With the search arena perpetually evolving, it is critical for them to test the digital waters and move towards an aggregator of products to offer a complete digital experience. Google Music and the renewed popularity of Google+ may put them on their way and a recent streamlining of systems will help, but with a smaller music catalogue and a scent of scepticism about new Google launches it is difficult to see the might of Apple and iTunes being toppled.