Maybe called "One Box", or maybe not, Google's new music service is basically a set of music search tools. And even if it's not an iTunes killer or a stateside Spotify, it still matters.
Techcrunch has a few shots of the service, which give a pretty good idea of how it'll work: You, Anonymous Google User, will search for music. Google will return a special search page template with artist info, album listings and cover art — this is something they've been doing for a while now. The crucial difference is, you'll be able to listen to songs, either as samples or in full, by way of a iLike and LaLa player widgets, directly from the results. (It could be more — Kafka says Imeem's joining in as well)
iLike is a music discovery service-cum-music store, which streams samples for free, and sells tracks for $US0.89 to $US1.29, not unlike iTunes. LaLa has a much webbier model, in which users can listen to any song once, after which they can either a) purchase online, browser-based listening privileges for $US0.10, or download the track in full for $US0.79. They're two minor players (though iLike got snatched up by MySpace a while back) that just got one of the biggest endorsements imaginable: Prime placement on Google's search pages.
I don't really see where a desktop client or even a Google-branded store front fits into this picture, but it's early, and these are just leaks — and besides, as interesting as this is, it doesn't feel quite complete. Maybe new pricing from iLike or LaLa? Subscriptions? Whatever it is, a formal announcement is expected on October 28. [TechCrunch]