Google Unveils Free Legal Music Service In China

Chinese don't like to pay for content that they can seamlessly copy and that's a ruthless factoid that Google has sneakily adopted to launch its brand new music search engine, exclusively in China.

The new service will allow users to download music files and will be supported by advertising revenue which will then be shared between music companies, music website Top100.cn and the music firms.

Punters will then be able to download or stream music for free, in a country where Piracy is rife - 99 percent of music downloads are illegal.

Google has not specified whether the adverts would be embedded in the music files themselves or present on the search engine results page as adwords or video adverts.

Unsurprisingly, the service, known as Music Onebox, will not be available outside China (check http://www.google.cn/music) and is unlikely to be rolled out in other markets (ed: Although you never know...)

Google has had to innovate in a market where it has been stuck in second place for a while behind Baidu.com which according to some, has cornered nearly 63 percent of the Chinese search market - the world's biggest one - with Google a distant number two with only 26 percent.

Baidu has for long been the favourite treasure trove for internet users looking to download Chinese MP3 files and it is quite interesting to see that for once, Google is following, rather than leading.