Google Music, the company’s cloud-based online music service, is now available to all users in the U.S. and includes song and album sales, as well as an integration with the Google+ social networking site.
Introduced in test form and by invitation only in May as a cloud-based song storage and playback service, Google Music will also let users buy albums and songs from all major music labels, except Warner.
Google Music users will be able to share the songs and albums they purchase with their friends on Google+, and those friends will in turn be able to listen to those songs and albums in their entirety, not just to samples.
The songs and albums will be for sale in the Android Market. Google Music is compatible with Android and Apple iOS devices, and can also be accessed from PC browsers.
“Google Music is about discovering, purchasing, sharing and enjoying digital music through integrated and personalized ways. It’s about the cloud, the Web and mobile. It’s about better connecting you with the music you own and introducing you to new music,” said Google official Jamie Rosenberg at an event in Los Angeles on Monday that was webcast. .
“Last but certainly not least, Google Music is about artists and their music, and about new ways to connect artists with their fans,” he added.
With this launch, Google becomes a direct competitor in online music to Apple, Amazon and others, joining a highly competitive and mature market years after other rivals.
There are currently about 8 million songs available for purchase through Google Music, a figure that will grow to about 13 million in the coming months. In addition to EMI, Universal and Sony, Google Music is partnering with more than 1,000 smaller labels.
About 1 million people participated in the service’s trial, listening to about two-and-a-half hours of music on average every day, officials said. Users can store up to 20,000 songs in Google Music. The cloud storage and playback portion of the service is free.
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Juan Carlos Perez covers search, social media, online advertising, e-commerce, web application development, enterprise cloud collaboration suites and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Juan on Twitter at @JuanCPerezIDG.