Google late Oct. 28 launched its oft-reported music search service, though it's the not the iTunes or Spotify challenger many made it out to be.
Google is teaming with MySpace, Lala and music labels EMI, Sony Music, Warner Music and Universal Music Group to let users find millions of songs right from the search engine.
Google isn't charging its partners for helping make their content more visible and accessible on the Web, but it will reap the benefit of millions of people searching for music, and thus, more advertising clicks.
Here's how it works. When users enter the name of a song, artist or album, Google will fetch them search results with links to audio previews of the song from Google partners MySpace (via iLike) or Lala:
When users click the result they'll hear an audio preview of 30 seconds or more of the song from one of those partners.
Do a search for "21st Century Breakdown" and the first results provide links to songs from Green Day's new album, information drawn from MySpace or Lala, which will also provide links to purchase the full song:
To help users discover artists they might like that they didn't know existed, Google also partnered with Pandora, Imeem and Rhapsody to include links to their sites:
While Google said it logs millions of music-related queries each day -- see Hitwise stats below -- searchers don't always know the song or artist title. Google partnered with Gracenote to let you enter a line or two of the lyrics to nail down the song or artist.
Check out this entry for Bon Jovi's "Livin' on a Prayer" (sadly, of which I know the song title, artist, album title and year it was released):
This move is both a slam dunk and a given. It's a slam dunk because it will appeal to the millions of music lovers who want to find music results fast. Google calls this reducing users' "time to result," Google Product Manager Murali Viswanathan said.
It's a given because music is just another form of content Google is indexing as part of its universal search plan to organize the world's data online.
How hot is music on Google? Hitwise's Heather Dougherty offered these stats:
"Out of the top 1000 search terms that took place on Google last week, 6 percent were music-related, covering bands, music services and content.Last week, Google sent 1.48 percent of their total visits to the music category and of those visits, 95 percent of the downstream traffic to music Web sites were returning visitors who had visited Google in the past 30 days.Google was the top referral Web site to the music category, accounting for nearly 30 percent of the total traffic to the category last week, 5x more than No. 2 Yahoo Search and 6.3x more than MySpace.Last week, 15 percent of the clicks from the search term portfolio of music that includes the names of over 900 band and artist names resulted in a visit to a Google property."