Looking to apply their powerful search engine to the world of music, Google officially launched their new music discovery service. Not so much a new site as it is a new set of integrated options added to normal search results, Google Music connects people searching for artists, songs or lyrics with free streams of tracks care of MySpace's iLike and Lala and with links to purchase songs and albums from one of Google Music's partners.
"Music is a big part of our lives. In fact, two of our top 10 queries of all time are music related," explains the introductory video on Google Music's home page. "We think it's time to bring the power of our search to the music industry, so that you can not only find but also discover music."
So far, Google has agreements with EMI, Sony, Universal and Warnor Bros. for music and Lala, iLike (owned by MySpace), Pandora, Rhapsody and Imeem for streaming and sales. Each search for a relevant artist or song yields a handful of links to free streams. (You're limited to one full freebie per song; after that, you're limited to 30-second snippets).
A cursory test drive yielded pretty excellent results: A search for Beyoncé lead to a streaming version of "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)" in seconds, and even digging up Mystikal's turn-of-the-century hit "Shake Ya Ass" was no trouble at all. Though the demo video shows the music search working directly from the Google homepage, as of press time, it worked only from the Google Music page.
The lyrics engine is a little less exact. Though they've partnered with a Sony database called Gracenote that houses all manner of lyrics, it's a little wonky. Searching for choruses generally works, but poking around for deeper lyrics is more troublesome: A search for the line "After the show it's the after party" (from R. Kelly's "Ignition [Remix]") didn't bring up any options, and when digging for Biggie's line "I don't give a f--- about you or your weak crew," Google brought up DMX's "Bring Your Whole Crew" (a noble effort, but wrong).
Still, Google's new music-centric search could change the way people look for and purchase music online. And with the added relationship to sites like Rhapsody and Pandora, there will be options for discovery as well.