Google May Be Going After Apple With Music Device

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With a wireless streaming music device reportedly in the works, Google is working on getting deeper into the home entertainment arena, according to reports.

Google has developed a prototype of a device designed to stream music via a home's Wi-Fi network, though they could expand its use in the future. Citing unnamed sources, the New York Times reported that the device is set to be sold to consumers as a branded device.

The move could be a direct salvo at Apple. Just last November, Google launched its online music store, Google Music. The service enables users to buy music and upload and store up to 20,000 songs for free.

With Apple dominating the music industry with its iTunes store and array of iPod devices, Google could be looking to get a piece of that lucrative pie.

If this streaming music device becomes a reality, Google would have the ability to let users buy and store music, and supply the device they can stream it on.

Google declined to comment on the device.

Over the past year or so, Google has made its designs on consumers' living rooms clear with a lot of talk about Google TV. But then talk turned to a streaming device when the company filed an application documents with the U.S. Federal Communications Commission. In the application, Google refers to the new product and "entertainment device" and that planned to test it for six months, from Jan. 17 to July 17.

"Users will connect their device to home WiFi networks and use Bluetooth to connect to other home electronics equipment," the document reads. The company also noted that Google employees will be testing the device in company facilities in Mountain View, Calif., Los Angeles, Cambridge, Mass., and New York City, as well as in their own homes.

Dan Olds, an analyst with The Gabriel Consulting Group, said it's not an easy market that Google looks to be getting into.

"There are already devices that will stream music via Wi-Fi and Bluetooth throughout your home, although they haven't seen a lot of adoption yet," Olds said. "The market right now, in terms of hardware revenue, is pretty damned small potatoes for a company the size of Google. So why would Google care? This new device could possibly be a project that they've inherited from the Motorola purchase."

With Google reportedly testing this new hardware device, having new testing labs wouldn't be a bad idea. That idea fits in with a report from the Mercury News on Monday that Google is working on a multi-faceted $120-million construction project at its Mountain View corporate headquarters. The project is said to include work on new or "previously secret hardware testing labs."

In an emailed response about the project, Google said, "Just as we continuously work to improve our products, it's important to iterate on our workspace to keep us productive. That's why we are adding additional meeting and work space to our campus in Mountain View."

This story, "Google May Be Going After Apple With Music Device" was originally published by Computerworld.

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