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Google unveils plans to develop home entertainment system

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Google is developing a home entertainment system that streams music wirelessly throughout the home and would be marketed under the company's own brand, according to people briefed on the company's plans.

The effort marks the Internet company's first full-fledged effort to design and market consumer electronics devices under the Google brand, and it represents a sharp shift in strategy. Google has up to now mainly focused on developing the Android software that powers devices such as smartphones and tablets and allowing other companies to build and brand the hardware that uses it.

Google's Android unit has led a multi-year effort to develop the device, which may stream other digital media besides music and is expected to be unveiled later this year, people familiar with the matter said.

The effort, along with Google's pending purchase of device maker Motorola Mobility Holdings, shows how serious the Internet giant is about wanting to control both the software and hardware process, a formula used by rival Apple.

It's unclear which retailers would sell the Google Android entertainment system, which would let people download digital media such as music and stream it to Google-made speakers or other web-connected devices in people's homes, these people said. Google currently offers music for sale through a digital store called Android Market, which rivals Apple's iTunes store. People could operate the Google system using a smartphone or tablet, these people said.

A Google spokesman declined to comment.

Read more about Google's home entertainment plans at the Wall Street Journal.