Google Music has been rumored for almost year now, at least the latest incarnation, there have been similar rumors along the years. But it looks like the music store, streaming service and cloud music locker is getting closer as it is now reportedly being tested internally at the company.
Google regularly tests new products or big revamps, basically anything it doesn't want getting out, internally so the move is hardly surprising.
But if Google has indeed started allowing its employees to test Google Music means that the product is mostly done and is now in the final stages, from a technical stand point.
It makes sense too, Google teased the service and store a year ago at the Google I/O 2010 conference. Before this it had acquired a service which enabled users to stream their own music online.
With the kind of engineering talent and resources Google has at its disposal, a year is more than enough for a product, even one on the scale of Google Music.
The reason why it took so long and why its launch may still be delayed has to do with the biggest problem facing any online service dealing with music, licensing, and it's the same if you're a small startup or a giant like Google.
Of course, the music labels would love to have another big player in the digital music to challenge Apple and there's probably no one better suited than Google. At the same time, they don't want to do the same mistakes they did with Apple, so they're taking things slowly.
The state of licensing for the service is mostly based on speculation, though it's clear that deals haven't been reached with all major labels. The one thing that complicates things further is Google's intention of enabling users to store their existing music online and have it available anywhere, on any device.
You could argue that, since it is music they bought and paid for, users should be able to do whatever they want with it and Google wouldn't have to deal with the labels in any way. But nothing regarding copyright is quite so simple these days.