Google Music to rival iTunes will launch by Christmas

Google and Apple have been going head-to-head for some time now in areas such as mobile, desktop operating systems and online advertising and now it has been reported that Google plans to release a new music download and storage space that could pose a very real rival to Apple's iTunes.

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Google's vice president Andy Rubins has been in talks with various record labels and aims to have the new music service launched by Christmas, according to Reuters.

The new Google Music will have a downloadable music store like iTunes, Play Digital and Amazon MP3. It will also have a "music locker" where music is stored "in the cloud" and can be accessed by any internet enabled device. This is similar to music streaming services such as Spotify and We7.

Google Music will be linked closely to their Android mobile operating system and its launch is expected to coincide with the release of the next update to the OS, Android 2.2.

While Google have not yet commented on the new service, an industry insider did speak to Reuters.

The source said: "Finally, here's an entity with the reach, resources and wherewithal to take on iTunes as a formidable competitor by tying it into search and Android mobile platform.

"What you'll have is a very powerful player in the market that's good for the music business."

In response to Google's new music service, Apple are also expected to delve into cloud-based music streaming solutions. They recently bought a music streaming service called Lala.

Google are also buying into this sector and last May they acquired a remote media company called Simplify Media.

Ted Cohen, a former executive at EM, said: "If [Google] get it right, it will hasten the transition by consumers from music you have to own to music you need ubiquitous access too."

Do yo think that streaming music will become more prevalent than owning your own music? And can Google rival Apple in the music industry? Leave a comment and share your thoughts.