CNET's News.com reports that Google (Nasdaq: GOOG ) has begun testing a streaming music service internally among employees. Called Google Music, it's apparently built for Android as an on-the-go competitor to iTunes.
Is this really a good idea? I have some doubts, mostly because I'm a frequent user of YouTube playlists. One of my favorites is a compilation of tracks from all 4.5 seasons of the reimagined Battlestar Galactica.
Go ahead and treat yourself. Composer Bear McCreary's work is as good as anything you'll hear from Hans Zimmer, James Horner, or even the legendary John Williams. And all of it is available on YouTube. Who needs Google Music?
To be fair, Google could realize some benefits from having its own streaming platform. Accessing and managing tunes on an Android handset or tablet would become easier, which is something users clearly want.
The Big G would also gain allies. Warner Music (NYSE: WMG ) , Sony's label, and EMI would love nothing more than to regain leverage in its negotiations with Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL ) over iTunes fees.
But these are ancillary benefits, at best. Google Music has to be either (a) Pandora plus CBS's (NYSE: CBS ) last.fm on steroids, or (b) incredibly creative in the way it allows users to search for and discover tracks.
One possibility: Have Google Music search the Internet for songs and playlists that match your collection of tracks and listening habits. Users could add intelligence by tagging songs, while bands and labels would add their own metadata.
Think of it as the antithesis to iTunes. Whereas Apple has created the world's largest music store, Google Music would allow users to discover and purchase music wherever it lives -- whether in iTunes, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, or an emerging artist's blog.
Could that strategy work? What would Google Music look like if you were in charge? Use the comments box below to let us know what you think about The Big G's involvement in the music biz, as well as Apple's iTunes empire and the future of streaming services.
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