A series on announcements this week at Google's I/O developer conference could signal another seismic shift in how music is discovered, purchased and enjoyed.
Google's most direct foray into music comes via the announcement that it had purchased Simplify Media two months ago, and will incorporating its technology in a new version of Android that enables users to stream music directly from their home PCs. That's a very different approach than MP3Tunes, Spotify or Apple's soon to be defunct Lala and others who have focused on storing music in the cloud.
Just as importantly Google announced that a new upgrade for Android will enable over the air downloads and auto-synch to all Android powered devices. No word yet, it Google is opening its own music store or just opening it's system to Amazon and others. Either way, its direct challenge to iTunes.
Two other Google announcements also have strong implications for the music industry.
An expanded Google Chrome App store plans to do for web apps what Apple's App Store has done for mobile apps. Developers will be able to sell apps for all web platforms and that could includes album and artist specific music apps that deliver bonus content or offer an ongoing conduit between the artist and fan. (More:Google Chrome Web App Store Offers New Opportunity To Monetize Music)
Google TV was also announced. The service and device bridges the gap between online video and the home TV set. For the music industry, that means the possibility of niche TV channels serving specific communities of fans much as blogs and internet radio does. (More: Google Wags TV's Long Tail. Can FargoTripHop.TV Be Far Behind?)