Google may be close to opening its own MP3 music store to compete directly with both Apple and Amazon, according to a report at the New York Times. Google is said to be in negotiations with major record labels to launch the store now, but that is a process that Google hasn't had much success with in the past. Google Music was originally meant to avoid the lengthy upload process for streaming music, but negotiations reportedly broke down.
Google currently only offers a service called Music Beta and only offers it on a very limited, invite-only basis. Music Beta allows users to upload their songs for streaming later via a web browser or with an Android app. Google's Music Beta is behind Apple's iTunes cloud music offerings which are going live later this month. Apple will then have an MP3 store, upload services, and music matching so users can stream music without having to upload every song in their library. Amazon is also ahead of Google, offering both an MP3 store and music uploading, but not music matching.
If Google is really hoping to catch up to its competitors, the ideal time to launch a new music service would be very soon. iTunes Match will go live later this month and Google and Samsung will be unveiling Ice Cream Sandwich on October 19th.