September 21, 2012
Google To Shutter China Music Search Service On October 9
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
Today, Google has announced they will be shuttering their music download service in China, just three years after they introduced it.
The search giant puled themselves out of China and into Hong Kong two years ago after struggling with censorship issues from the Chinese government. Now, according to the announcement, Google will kill the music in China on October 9th.
Google´s music service in China was the search giant´s attempt at providing a free, legal downloading alternative to pirating for music fans. The service was only available for desktop Internet users residing in Mainland China. Like all Google products, the music service was powered by ads, the revenue from which was shared with Chinese music companies who had been suffering from dwindling music sales.
“We decided to turn off the music search service in China, turning their focus towards the more influential,” writes Google´s China general manager of engineering research Dr. Yang Wenluo in a translated blog post.
“In March 2009, we released the Google music search cooperation with Whale Music (Top100.cn), to provide Chinese users with free and legal high quality music. However, the influence of this product is not as high as we expect, so we decided to resources to other products. Users can login and download their saved playlists before October 19, 2012.”
Dr. Wenluo also says those who had been working on the music service will go on to work with other teams in the Google-sphere.
Google says they will continue to work on “bold, brave innovative ideas” in the future and that this announcement will give them more time and resources to focus on these new ideas. The Mountain View company did decline, however, to release any details in terms of revenue or adoption of the music service in its short 3 year existence.
Though Google has had a rocky history in China, there may have been some competition responsible for their closing the service.
Baidu, a Chinese company which acts as a sort of Google/Wikipedia/BitTorrent combination, also offers their own music service. According to the Register, Baidu´s music service allows users to search for popular MP3s which are stored on a “sophisticated” network of domains. These downloadable MP3s are buried deep in these links, making them more difficult to trace. The user can download them easily enough, and Baidu can distance themselves from any wrongdoing by claiming they´re only providing links instead of actual music.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Baidu is more like Google in more ways than one, controlling nearly 80% of the Chinese Internet search market.
Google began having troubles with the local government just one year after they announced the music service. Google announced they´d stop censoring their searches in China and moved their servers to Hong Kong, which operates by their own laws.
In June, Google began alerting Chinese searchers who they believe are the target of “State sponsored attacks,” further complicating their relationship with the Chinese government. Though Chinese users can still access the Hong Kong servers, response time is often slowed due to Internet Filters put in place by the communist Chinese government.