Google changes to aid music searches

Sandy Moore
Sandy Moore
Oct 30, 2009
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The Internet's most popular search engine should get smarter about music, as Google updates the algorithms that power its searches this week, a company spokesman said.

"You don't have to know what you're looking for," Google's Jennie Johnson said.

"If it looks like they're looking for a song, we're including in the regular search result links to hear songs from partners," Johnson said.

Contrary to techie rumors, Google is not launching a music download service, but it will give music searchers a direct link to commercial sites that do offer songs for sale.

Only sites that have licensing deals with artist labels and music publishers will be included in the links that "take you to a music discovery service," she said.

Those partners include -- but are not limited to -- iLike and Lala, she said. "Links to explore further, including Pandora and Rhapsody artist pages, will also be packaged in the music search results," she said.

The song download sites will not pay Google for driving traffic their way, she said.

"It's not like we get a fee," she said. "The value to us is really realized through better search."

There will be no new search box or hyperlink on Google's famously sparse homepage, because the change will be built in to every search request, Johnson said.

You don't even need to know the name of a song or artist to find the music in your head.

"They can enter some fragments of the words," Johnson said. "If it matches a song, there's a good chance that we're going to give you a song for that result."

One wrinkle that may take time to work out is nonmusic search terms that may seem like a song, she said.

This launch, which is only in the United States for now, is "the beginning step" that will allow Google to "refine how people are digging into it," Johnson said.

"You can expect to see it improved," she said.

Google's music search enhancements address an area that is important to a large number of Web users, she said.

"Two of the top 10 queries in the United States are music-related," she said.

Keywords: Google changes to aid music searches, Music, Search, Publisher

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