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Google Unveils New Music Search Capabilities

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Search engine giant Google has unveiled expansive new music search capabilities designed to not only facilitate music discovery, streams and sales, but also drive traffic to several digital music services selected as content providers for the newly launched initiative.

Under Google's new music search system, submitting a search query based on an artist's name, song or album title—or even snippets of song lyrics—will now display results in a special section on the Google results page. These results include album art and a set of "play" links that will open a special Google music player, which then immediately streams the full song.

Providing the streaming music for this feature is MySpace Music and Lala. According to Google director of product management RJ Pittman, who oversaw the project, the system will randomly choose between the two providers when displaying the streaming links. Each song can be played in full once.

The music player also features a "buy" button, where users can purchase the song from whichever service is providing the stream, as well as link back to the service where users can further explore the features of each. The MySpace player will also include links to watch the music video and get concert details if the artist is currently on tour.

Also included in results will be links to music services Pandora, imeem and Rhapsody, allowing users to navigate away from Google's results and directly to the artist page on the corresponding service, where they can stream or buy songs from each site directly.

There's also a search-by-lyrics feature as a result of Google licensing Gracenotes lyrics database. Before today's launch, searching song lyrics would result in a list of links to other lyrics services—some authorized, some not. Now, the first result would be for the song in question with all the new features, allowing users to stream or buy the track.

The new feature will roll out beginning Wednesday (Oct. 28) evening, a process expected to finish by the evening of Oct. 29. Google unveiled the new service during a special event at the Capitol Records building in Los Angeles, where all partners and several record labels were in attendance.

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