Continuing the two companies' ongoing feud, just two days after the arrival of Apple's new iTunes Match update, Google has launched its own new music streaming service and store.
Imaginatively titled Google Music, the new free service adds a host of features to the company's original Music Beta, including full library syncing, a new music store housing a reported 13 million songs and -- for those actually making music -- an artist's hub.
The syncing service allows Google Music users to wirelessly sync their music and playlists, both purchased and uploaded, across their laptop, tablet and smartphone.
Currently only available in the U.S., Google's new store contains music from artists on Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, EMI, and the global independent rights agency Merlin. As well as the mainstream labels Google also reported cutting deals with "over 1,000 prominent independent labels including Merge Records, Warp Records, Matador Records, XL Recordings and Naxos."
Seeking to breathe fresh life into its social network, the new music service will also allow users to share songs from their library to their Google+ page. The feature will grant people in the user's circles one "free, full-play" of the posted songs.
As an added incentive Google has also inked deals with a number of artists, to secure exclusive content for the service. Google reported that the Rolling Stones, Coldplay, Busta Rhymes, Shakira, Pearl Jam, Dave Matthews Band and Tiësto, have all contributed exclusive content that will be free to download on Google Music.
The Artist Hub is a new service that is set to allow "any artist who has all the necessary rights can distribute his or her own music on our platform, and use the artist hub interface to build an artist page, upload original tracks, set prices and sell content directly to fans-essentially becoming the manager of their own far-reaching music store."
Currently only available in the U.S. the service will reportedly begin releasing the service on the Android market "over the next few days." Google are yet to announce a firm UK release date.
Though only in its infant stages, critics and analysts have been quick to point out the similarities between Google Music and Apple's new iTunes Match.
Launched in the U.S. on Tuesday, Apple's latest iTunes update also added the new Match service. Using the iCloud storage service, like Google Music, Match allows users to store their music on the cloud and stream it to their Mac, PC or iOS-powered device.
The similarities have in turn led to speculation about whether Apple will escalate its ongoing series of lawsuits against Google, mounting a new complaint against Google Music. At the time this article was written Apple had not responded to requests for comment regarding Google's new music service.
Check back at the IBTimes later in the year for a full look at Google Music.