Google Inc. on Thursday launched a music search feature that delivers special pages with information on artists, their albums and songs.
The service is similar to what Google provides for other search categories, such as movies. Typing in the title of a movie playing in theatres will get a form at the top of results where a person can type in a zip code and get a list of showings and times.
In the music feature, typing in the name of an artist or group in Google's general search form will deliver at the top of results an image icon that will take the visitor to the special page. The feature was added after Google found on its site a lot of search traffic on music terms like popular artist and albums, David Alpert, search quality product manager said on the company's blog.
The music-search page does not currently include contextual ads, but the company has put out a call for stores selling music downloads, subscriptions or physical CDs to get in touch with the Mountain View, Calif., company if they want to be listed. Some album descriptions currently contain non-sponsored links to music stores.
For now, the feature works mostly for artists popular in the United States. Google, however, plans to expand its coverage to classical music, worldwide artist and lesser-known performers.
While it expects to increase its list of music stores over time, there's no indication Google plans to stray from its mission of providing information and making money from sponsored links and other online advertising.
"Music is popular, and people want to find music," Joe Wilcox, analyst for JupiterResearch said. "Google is first and foremost about information and connecting people to that information. To me, music makes perfect sense. The question is why didn't Google do this sooner?"
Google is not the first to offer special pages related to general search queries that are music related. Such features are available on Yahoo Inc., Ask Jeeves, which is owned by IAC/InterActiveCorp, and Microsoft Corp.'s MSN portal.