updated 01:30 pm EDT, Fri July 15, 2011
Android Market hints at Google music store
A redesigned Android Market has hinted that Google's plans for its own music store may still be on the cards. Images for section headers include the expected app and movies sections but also a set of currently unused orange music icons. Android and Me's explorer didn't locate other giveaways, but much of the content from within a given section downloads when the app runs.
Google hasn't confirmed any of the plans.
When Google launched Music Beta, it publicly abandoned store plans under claims that labels were holding it back from doing what it wanted. It's now known that labels wanted cash advances for the full-fledged cloud music service and other payment terms that Google wasn't willing to pay. Placeholders for a music store could just be carryovers from earlier attempts but could also signal that Google has dropped its earlier views or will have a more limited store.
Google might have felt compelled to have a store after seeing the launches of iTunes Match and iTunes in the Cloud. After awhile of lagging behind in cloud services, Apple not only introduced simplified device downloads but a cloud music service better than what Google offered. To keep Music Beta free, Google limited its strategy to manual uploading and to steer listeners to other stores. iTunes Match costs $25 but only needs manual uploads for songs it doesn't recognize and makes storage cap exemptions for tracks someone already owns.