Netco launches enhanced music search feature

Google launched an enhanced music search feature late Wednesday that allows those who use the search engine to hear and even buy music via the Web giant’s dedicated partners.

Pages for music-related queries at Google.com will now include pop-up players from online music store Lala or social networking site MySpace (which acquired music recommendation site iLike in the last month) that will allow listeners to view album art and hear entire songs once for free. MySpace’s player also links to musicvideos and tour information.

Though Google’s feature does not allow users to buy music directly through the search site, Lala and MySpace supply links for the legal purchase of songs.

Not only will users be able to hunt for music by artist, song title or album title, but snatches of lyrics may now be used in Google song searches.

To facilitate discovery of music related to these queries, Google will supply links to online music services Pandora, Rhapsody and imeem.

Google’s partners in the venture, all of which have licensing agreements with major and indie record labels, will receive top positioning on the search engine’s query pages.

R.J. Pittman, Google’s director of product management, said the objective of the new initiative is “making search better by helping you search and discover music in a way that’s good for consumers, artists, music labels and publishers. ┬áIf it sounds simple and obvious, then we’ve achieved our goal.”

Arrangement also provides heightened visibility for Google’s partners in a market dominated by Apple’s iTunes musicstore.

“It gets us in front of tens of millions of users who search for music,” Lala CEO Geoff Ralston said. “It’s huge for us,” he added.

“We’re trying to get our consumers to engage quicker and easier,” said MySpace Music president Courtney Holt. “We’re creating a wider front end to our funnel, allowing people to experience more with our site.”

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