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Google Shuts Music Search in China to Refocus Products

Google Inc., which pulled its search engine from China in 2010, has decided to shutter another of its remaining services in the world’s largest Internet market: a three-year-old music service.

Users of the Google Music Search service in China have until Oct. 19 to download their stored playlists, Taj Meadows, a Tokyo-based Google spokesman, said in a phone interview today.

The music service was launched in March 2009, less than a year before Google in January 2010 said it was no longer willing to comply with government regulations to self-censor Web content. The latest closure may benefit Baidu Inc.’s competing Baidu Ting online offering.

“Google’s music service was a positive force for the promotion of licensed music in China,” Kaiser Kuo, a spokesman at Beijing-based Baidu, said in e-mailed comments. “At Baidu, we’ll continue the push for music services that respect intellectual property, ensuring that artists and labels are rewarded while satisfying the needs of listeners.”

Since pulling out of the search market, the music service had been one of the few remaining offerings on the Mountain View, California-based company’s China-based landing page, along with its translation service, an experimental group deal aggregating service, and a page for consumer product listings.

“This is part of an ongoing effort across Google to bring greater focus to our portfolio of products,” Meadows said. “Our goal is to simplify and improve the Google experience for our users and to devote more resources to high impact products.”

As of today, users opening the page for the music service get a one line message that reads: “Google Music Search service has been turned off, please log in before Oct. 19 and download your saved playlist.”

In a Chinese-language Google blog hosted in Hong Kong, the company said the impact of the music service “was not as high as we expected.”

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