Google unveils music service to rival Apple, Amazon

Search giant's online music store will help boost its mobile and social offerings but analysts note it is late to the game and success hard to come, reports say.

Google has launched a new online music store in a move to challenge the dominance of market leaders Apple and Amazon. Analysts noted its entrance is too late to "catch-up" with rivals but the move was necessary to improve the media experience of Android devices.

According to a Wednesday Reuters report, the new service comes with millions of songs from record labels EMI, Sony Music and Universal. However, Warner Group is conspicuously missing from the picture, it noted.

Consumers in the U.S. will be able to purchase the music through the Android Market, which offers mobile apps, e-books and videos, Google said. To help promote the new music store, the search giant said it will offer one free song for users to download everyday. It will also allow consumers to share purchased songs with their online community via Google+, giving those on the social network "free full-play" of songs purchased by their friends.

Entered too late, but presence necessary
Analysts told Reuters that selling online music will do little to boost Google's revenues but the new service is needed so that Android devices can match up with offerings from rivals Apple and Amazon.

In a separate Bloomberg report on Thursday, Gartner analyst Ray Valdes said: "[Google is] coming into the market rather late in the game, where there are larges established players. You can say it's a saturated market."

He doubted the new service will be met with "immediate success", but added that Google's size in the market will ensure that even if they fail with this initiative, it will "take a while" before this becomes apparent.

Ovum's Mark Little also told Bloomberg that it will "not be easy" to take away market share from incumbent leader Apple and its iTunes platform. In Apple's most recent quarter announcements, 16 million people downloaded music from iTunes and the online store had US$1.5 billion in revenue, the report stated.