Google beefs up music functions

Web search will include links to online retailers

Continuing its expansion into the media business, Google has implemented a new music function Wednesday with detailed info on artists and albums and links directly into online musicstores.

When users search for a popular artist, they’ll get artist-specific info from Google above regular results. These include a discography, photos and links to albums and songs for sale both in digital form, from musicstores like iTunes and Rhapsody, as well as etailers selling CDs like Amazon and Walmart.com.

Once users start such a search, they’re able to conduct new searches solely within Google’s music listings.

It’s not the first player in this space. Several other websites and search engines, including MP3.com and GoFish, already offer music-specific search.

Google already provides similar information for new films, with links to showtimes and reviews, as well as tickets on sale from Movietickets.com.

In both cases, the search company isn’t yet selling advertising specific to the media category but does make small commissions off links to online ticket and song sales.

Both offerings are part of a larger move by Google into the entertainment biz, where it’s aiming to become a more sophisticated aggregator of online content and information. That could prove a big boost to its marketing business when it starts selling ads against music and movie searches.

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