April 14, 2011, 10:58 AM

Google buys mobile music specialist PushLife

It gives Google a piece of the puzzle to create an iTunes-like store for Android.

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Amazon.com Inc. recently stepped up efforts to compete with Apple Inc.’s App Store by creating its Appstore, which offers 3,800 of the tiny programs for Android devices.

Now another Internet giant, Google Inc., may be leveraging Android to take on another wildly successful Apple creation, the iTunes online music store. Google this week bought PushLife, a company that enables consumers to sync their mobile phones with desktop software including the iTunes and Windows Media Player applications that store consumers’ music files.

Google declines to reveal details. “We are excited to welcome the PushLife team to Google,” a spokesperson says. “We believe the team has a wealth of experience building cool mobile applications, and we think they’ll make a great addition to our mobile team.”

PushLife’s software syncs content on mobile devices with content on a computer. PushLife is available on BlackBerry, Android and some Nokia mobile devices, and comes with software that consumers download to their PCs. To use PushLife, a consumer connects her PushLife-enabled phone to a desktop computer and the software on the PC automatically starts and syncs with iTunes and Windows Media Player.

PushLife technology could help Google create a service similar to iTunes for the Android platform. PushLife is already available for Android so it can navigate the ins and out of the mobile operating platform. Further, acquiring PushLife gives Google music syncing expertise. That could help Google develop a music store and platform that would enable Android users to purchase music from an Android music store and sync their phones with their computers to access the music they have bought on either device—much like iPhone users do today with iTunes.

Google has not said whether it is building such a store. Nor has PushLife commented on Google’s plans.

“When we started our journey in 2008, we set out to build immersive mobile experiences for people to play, organize, share and purchase digital content across multiple devices,” PushLife writes in a statement on its web site. “But we think there’s a lot more work to do in the mobile space, like improving the way applications look and making them easier to use. And as Google is driving innovation on the mobile web across a wide variety of areas, we thought joining the company would be a perfect fit.”

Toronto-based PushLife will join Google’s engineering team in Canada. It says it will phase out its PushLife mobile app.

Amazon announced late last month a free music storage and streaming service, getting a jump on similar offerings likely on the way from competitors Apple and Google. The service from Amazon allows consumers to store digital content—including music in MP3 format, e-books and digital movies—and stream that content to most devices, though not Apple’s iPhone, iPod or iPad.

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