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 $.89 to $1.29, 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 $.10, or download the track in full for $.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 storefront 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 28th. [TechCrunch]