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Google pulls plug on Chinese music search project

Google is shuttering its free music search service in China, making way for other products.

In a translated blog entry posted by Google engineering research general manager Yang Wenluo, the company said the service did not make quite as much of a dent as expected, so Google will focus on other projects.

All staff members will be moved to other product teams, the blog said.

Wenluo said Google has carefully considered what projects are working and which ones need to be axed. As a result, the search giant has recently shut down some features, while integrating others into existing products.

"As a continuation of this process, we decided to turn off the music search service in China," Wenluo said.

Google launched its music search option in 2009, in conjunction with Whale Music, to provide Chinese users with free and legal high-quality music. The Google-funded offered links to listeners, aiming to compete with rival Baidu, PC World reported. The music project's nationwide influence was less than stellar, though. Three years later, Google is moving on.

"We [are] never afraid to try bold, brave, innovative ideas, and will continue to do so in the future," Wenluo wrote, adding that the company will continue to develop new technologies. "Through more effective integration of resources, we can focus more on creating products that [change] the world and bring a truly wonderful experience for the user."

Users have until 19 October to log in and download their saved playlists.

Google has been skating on thin ice in China since early-2010, when the search giant reported attempts to hack into the Gmail accounts of Chinese human rights activists. As a result, Google said it would no longer censor search results in the country, but later settled on a hybrid approach.

This June, Google announced that it would display warnings to Search users in mainland China when their query was likely to result in an error beyond the search giant's control.