Google strikes deals with MySpace, Rhapsody and Lala to make search musical

29 Oct 2009

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Search giant Google has gone live with its new music-search feature and has struck partnership deals with MySpace, iLike, Rhapsody, Pandora, imeem and Lala to provide a search service that also includes audio previews of a song.

Google says the new service not only makes search better but also helps users discover new sources of licensed music.

“If you’re searching for music, ‘time to result’ is really ‘time to music’,” explained Murali Viswanathan, product manager with Google. “Now, when you enter a music-related query — like the name of a song, artist or album — your search results will include links to an audio preview of those songs provided by our music-search partners MySpace (which just acquired iLike) or Lala.

“When you click the result you’ll be able to listen to an audio preview of the song directly from one of those partners. For example, if I search for (21st Century Breakdown), the first results provide links to songs from Green Day’s new album. MySpace and Lala also provide links to purchase the full song.”

Find that catchy tune

The trouble of finding a song you like that you’ve heard on the radio but don’t know its title or the artist’s name should be eradicated through the new service, which allows you to find the song by entering a line or two of lyrics.

Google has also partnered with Pandora, imeem and Rhapsody to include links to their sites, where you can discover music related to your queries, as well.

“This feature doesn’t just make search better,” said Google software engineer Ganesh Ramanarayanan.

“It also helps people discover new sources of licensed music online while helping artists to discover new generations of fans and reconnect with long-time listeners.

“Of course, this is just a first step toward making search more musical. There’s a lot of music out there in the world, and in some instances, we may not return links to the song you’re looking for.

“But by combining the strength of Google’s search algorithms with our music-search partners’ efforts to increase the comprehensiveness of their music content, we’re on track to answer more of your rhymes with the right rhythms,” Ramanarayanan explained.

First stop: America

Google will be rolling the service out in the US first and has not yet elaborated on when the service will be globally available.

The advent of a search service that directs users towards licensed music should be a boon to a music industry that has been pummelled by illegal file sharing and piracy.

Yesterday, the UK’s business secretary Lord Mandelson revealed tough new rules that will counter illegal file-sharing. He pointed out that just one in every 20 songs downloaded on the internet is actually a licensed song.

By John Kennedy

Photo: Results of Google searches on music-related queries are to include links to an audio preview of those songs provided by Google’s music-search partners.

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Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com