Google introduces online music store, software

Google users can now do even more than search the web and create profiles on Google+. They can now purchase and listen to music.

The company launched its own music store and software, Google Music, Wednesday, Nov. 16, to expand its brand. The new store will directly compete with Apple’s iTunes, which boasts more than 200 million store accounts.

Google has the ability to match iTunes services with the help of Android phone users. There are more than 200 million activated Android phones and tablets – a large potential market for the new feature.

The comparison between Google Music and iTunes for college students includes three key factors: price, library of songs and usability.

The cost of music utilizing either of the two systems is almost identical. Both iTunes and Google sell songs for either 99 cents or $1.29, while full albums cost about $10.

Where Apple charges $25 a year for cloud-based music storage on iCloud, however, Google offers the same service for free.

The amount of songs offered is different between services, however.

Google has deals with three out of the four major record labels in the United States – Vivendi, Sony Music Entertainment and EMI. Warner Music has not yet signed with Google, meaning music from Cee Lo, Gucci Mane, Green Day, Van Halen and others who work with the label will not yet be accessible in the store.

All of the major record labels have deals with iTunes, although some smaller labels are not represented and there are a number of individual artists who have not granted permission for iTunes to sell their music.

Library-wise, Apple allows users to store more songs. Google allows for 20,000 songs, while iTunes’s cloud-based service can hold up to 25,000, and there are no software-mandated limits.

Songs from Google Music can play on any number of devices and in the format in which they were originally downloaded. It is also the only service that allows personal library access from mobile and desktop browsers across various platforms. iTunes limits customers to 10 devices and only plays songs in 256 kbps ACC format.

Google allows songs to be played in rates higher than 256 kbps, meaning the sound quality is better.

Some Marquette students already use Google Music. Nick Maiorelle, a sophomore in the College of Engineering, was part of the beta test group for the new store and has been using the system for a month now.

He said he likes using Google Music because of its compatibility with Android phones.

“There wasn’t any real solid music player for Android phones until Google Music,” Maiorelle said. “The music does not take up any storage space on my phone since it goes through the cloud.”

Although he uses Google Music, he also said he still uses iTunes because it is compatible with his MP3 player.

“It depends on what device I am going to have with me,” Maiorelle said.

Giuliana Scardina, a freshman in the College of Education, said she thinks people will switch to Google Music as Android phones become more popular.

“Google has been pretty successful with new ventures in the past and people trust them,” Scardina said.

Maria Doering, a sophomore in the College of Arts & Sciences, does not have a smartphone but may in the future.

“If I switch to an Android phone I might want to use Google Music for my music,” Doering said.

She said she uses iTunes now because it is compatible with her iPod.

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