Microsoft on Tuesday introduced the latest update to its plucky come-from-behind search engine, Bing, offering specialized results for music, TV, movies, and games. On the music front, Bing now offers playable search results. The feature is similar to what Google introduced last October, but Google is dependent on partnerships, which has created some problems. Lala was acquired by Apple, which discontinued the service on May 31, and iLike (owned by MySpace) only lets you play the song once before relegating you to a 30-second sample on subsequent visits. Microsoft, on the other hand, has its own music licensing deals for its Zune Marketplace service, and some of these deals have now been extended to Bing, giving you unlimited full-length playbacks of more than 5 million songs. If you like the song, you can then purchase the MP3 from the Zune Marketplace over the Web–a first for Microsoft. (Previously, you had to launch the Zune application.) You can also purchase it from iTunes or Amazon. Google only lets you buy from its partner iLike. Bing’s music search results beat Google in some other ways as well: artist results contain embedded biographies, a list of albums and – where available – lyrics licensed from LyricFind.
Google has signed a deal with MySpace and online music player Lala to add music to its search results starting in the US today.
Music-related search results will present links to songs which when clicked will bring up pop-up players supplied by Google’s new partners. The MySpace pop-up player will have information on tour dates, links to videos and digital downloads, as well as a button for music and ticket sales.
Google said that the initiative was part of its aim to cut the “time to result” — which is how it terms the number of clicks and keyword adjustments a user makes before finding what they are looking for. It will also work if a user only knows a line or two of the lyrics of a song and wants to look it up. Music sites Pandora, imeem and Rhapsody will benefit from links to their sites based on suggestions of music a user might like based on their query.
Music will be streamed from independent record labels as well as the four majors: EMI, Sony BMG, Universal Music and Warner Music. The feature has been made possible following MySpace’s acquisition of iLike last month, in a deal reportedly worth $20m (£12.2m).
The deal comes as MySpace shifts its strategy away from competing with Facebook to focus on developing as a community for music and entertainment lovers. Courtney Holt, president of MySpace Music, said: “We believe the future of MySpace includes enabling the socialization of content not only on MySpace but also on other websites. Working with partners like Google is an important part of this strategy, and we have plenty of other opportunities ahead of us.”
Music fans are about to get two new ways to find and sample songs on the Web, as Google and Facebook introduce new features on their services. Google, the search giant, plans to announce a music initiative at an event it will hold at the Capitol Records building in Hollywood next Wednesday, according to three people briefed on the details, who asked for anonymity because they were not authorized to talk about the service before it was announced. The service will give users a more efficient way to find, learn about and sample music after they search for information about bands, albums or songs, said a person who has seen an early demonstration. Google, based in Mountain View, Calif., will not host any music, nor has it forged any new relationships with the major music labels. But it has struck deals with several streaming music services to let people easily sample music directly from the search engine. Through relationships with streaming music sites, like Lala, Imeem and the MySpace division iLike, users wanting to sample a song will be presented with a pop-up box from one of the music partners that will play at least a 30-second sample, and in some cases, the whole song. Google is not alone wading into the music business. The social network Facebook, which has been toying with bringing music to its site for at least a year, will also take its first step by integrating Lala into its popular gift store, according to Brandee Barker, a Facebook spokeswoman.