Google launching Android-based music store

No, that doesn't mean that the search giant will only be selling music by Gary Numan (ask your mum), but rather that it is taking on Apple's dominant iTunes in the online music sales marketplace with the launch of its new Google Music service.

Google music launch
Top related searches:
  1. Google Music
  2. iTunes
  3. Android handsets
  4. Digital rights management
  5. Google Nexus
  6. iTunes alternatives
  7. Smartphone reviews
  8. Downloading music
  9. Digital music formats
  10. Cloud storage

The online store is initially being launched in the US only and all the major labels apart from Warner Bros have signed up to it already. It has not launched worldwide yet because negotiations are still ongoing with several labels.

It will allow US-based Android-based phone users to download music directly to their handsets.

Universal, EMI, Sony Music Entertainment and 23 independents have signed up to provide a library of 13 million songs for customers to choose from - including exclusive material from Coldplay, Shakira, the Rolling Stones, Pearl Jam, Busta Rhymes and others.

One key factor that may lure customers away from iTunes - which has dominated the market since it was launched in 2003 - is the fact that Google Music tracks will have no DRM (digital rights management) on them. DRM restricts the customer's ability to use their purchase on different machines.

Another novelty is that customers will be able to listen to each track in full once before they buy it.

Google also hopes to boost its social networking site Google+ via the service, allowing users to share songs directly with other people on the network.

Android is now the dominant smart phone operating system in terms of sales, with more than half of handsets sold globally in recent months running on the operating system.

And the release of Google's next-generation Android OS is also imminent, along with a new Samsung-built Google Nexus phone.

What do you reckon? Should Apple be worried? Will you use it if it comes to the UK? Comment below...