Google unveils music service

The internet search giant enters the music business, unveiling a service for finding, listening to or buying songs online.

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Google has stepped onto the internet music stage, unveiling a service for finding, listening to or buying songs online. The internet search giant has formed an alliance with and MySpace-owned iLike at Capitol Records headquarters in Los Angeles that could cut down on the number of mouse clicks it takes to sample or purchase a song on the Web. "We are very excited today to be introducing a music search feature," the Google vice president of search Marissa Mayer said before a demonstration of the new service known as OneBox.

"The search results will allow you to do a whole song play to verify it is the song you are looking for," rather than just the 30-second stream typical of most major online music providers. Google music search lets people search using song artists, titles, and even snippets of lyrics. Google began rolling out OneBox yesterday, with availability limited to the United States. "I think this is a game-changing thing Google has done," said Wendy Nussbaum of Universal Music Group.

"The key thing for us is you are leading people to legitimate sources of music. Consumers want something easy, and Google gives them that." A pop-up widget powered by iLike or Lala instantly appears with OneBox search results and offers to play the sought-after song. The MySpace box provides links to buying MP3 downloads of songs, matching music videos and upcoming concerts by artists, if any are planned.

"Music on Google; how cool is that?" said iLike founder Ali Partovi, now a senior vice president at MySpace, which bought his company just weeks ago. Mr Partovi described OneBox as "something where everyone is a winner and no one is a loser - the consumer, rights holders, artists, us, that is amazing." Google said it is not getting any share of revenues made by the music services, which have money-sharing deals with artists and record labels behind the content.