Google’s Indian Music Service Not Quite A Prelude To A Subscription Offer

Google Music

Rumours persist that Google’s upcoming music play will be a $25-a-month locker offering streamed access to owned tracks including via Android.

In the meantime, Google (NSDQ: GOOG) is taking its less ambitious, music search-and-access service – announced 12 months ago – to India.

Today, it quietly launched a Google Labs feature, “Indic Music Search” (sic), promising: “Listen to thousands of full songs from our partners in.com, saavn and saregama.”

Google’s India music pages include listings and metadata for tracks and albums, and let users play the tracks from those three partners in pop-up windows that carry ads. The pages also offer links through to the partner sites themselves but, realistically, more people are likely to play songs straight from Google.

Google announced a similar project in the U.S. last year, plugging in to its search pages’ OneBox music listings and playback pop-ups from MySpace, iLike, Rhapsody and Pandora.

The way in which Google’s technology indexes partners’ music for presentation through search may be a dress rehearsal for a launch of a full Google Music service. But, otherwise, the Indian service has little that would connect it with some of the reports we’ve been reading about a full Google Music launch…

Indeed, U.S. labels have gone cold on advertising-dependent music services like this and are increasingly keen on new, unlimited-access models including actual subscription income.

This is likely a local-specific deal and has more in common with the Chinese music search service Google launched with Top100 back in 2008 than a prelude to an actual subscription access service.

Google tells paidContent:UK: “This is an experimental launch in Google Labs in India. Google Labs is our ‘technology playground’, where we try out new things and seek feedback from users and developers. We are still experimenting with this new service, and we look forward to hearing feedback from our users.”

More background at WSJ.com.

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