TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Google Adds Music Search and Purchase Features

Google Adds Music Search and Purchase Features

Eric Auchard (
Thu, 15 Dec 2005 12:18:30 -0600

By Eric Auchard

Google Inc. is introducing a music search feature that details the
work of certain featured artists, the company said late on Wednesday.

"In analyzing our traffic, we found that a huge number of users
conduct music-related searches," Google said in a statement.

The music search feature is prominently placed above the main search
results in what Google calls its "one box" area -- where information
such as weather, movies or books may also be highlighted.

When a user enters a music-related search in Google search box, the
resulting search returns information about the artist, a few albums
and a picture, when available, above the standard search results.

A link to "more" music results leads to user reviews, song titles and
a choice of online retailers where the music can be purchased.

Online sources include Apple Computer Inc., RealNetworks Inc. and
eMusic, and retailers selling compact discs, including Amazon Inc.,
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and others, the editors of Web search analysis
site wrote after a briefing by Google.

For the CD retailers, Google receives data feeds of the inventory and
only returns a link to a store if the item is available,
SearchEngineWatch said.

While the music search feature holds out the possibility of Google
taking a cut of any music sale resulting from directing the user to an
online music store, a spokeswoman said there was no plans to charge
anyone for the service.

Google is late to the game with music search results, the analysts
noted. IAC/InterActiveCorp's Ask Jeeves, Microsoft Corp.'s MSN and
Yahoo Inc. (Nasdaq:YHOO - news) all have offered music search for
some time.

These music links will show up in limited cases tied to specific music
artists initially. But Google plans to expand the range of searches
that trigger the music feature over time, Google spokeswoman Megan
Quinn said.

The music search feature was developed as a side project by a Google
engineer, she said. Google encourages its employees to spend a portion
of their work week pursuing innovative projects that may not be
related to their core job assignments. These are known as "20 percent
time projects." Examples of projects created in this way include
Google's e-mail service, Gmail and Google News. said that
placement in search results is determined by a combination of the
retailer's general Google search rank and other relevance factors, and
an element of "randomness" to ensure "fairness."

Some of the music information comes from undisclosed information
suppliers to Google and some from Google's own crawling of Web sites,
SearchEngineWatch said.

Copyright 2005 Reuters Limited.

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