Google OneBox: Improving Your Music Search Results

LLast week Google announced the launch of a new search feature, called Music Onebox, which allows you to stream songs for free via partner services Lala and MySpace’s iLike (as well as Pandora, imeem and Rhapsody). What does it mean to you, as a listener?

Obviously, finding a song of a favorite artist is getting easier than ever. Not only you can listen to a tune with one click directly from a search results page, now you don’t even need to type in the name of the song to find it (you can use a line from the lyrics, for example). A post on the official Google blog lists the smart new search capabilities.

Google search results example

Google search results example

The downsides? First of all, due to the licensing issues some of the songs will only include 30-second samples. Secondly, the service will be rolled out only in the US, so far.

There are surprising advantages though, according to the recent TechCrunch report. The blog reveals that Music Onebox will feature exclusive songs from “a number of well known artists.” Over 20 acts are said to be offering tunes that can only be found through Google search, and some of these tracks will be given away for free.

On the business side of things, Google is not working directly with record labels for licensing, but the company says that the labels approve the new feature, according to DMW . “Everybody’s been very supportive. Indeed, our business model is to improve the search experience with the help of streaming partners, which offer interesting business models of their own,” R.J. Pittman, director of product management for Google, told Reuters.

“Google is the most powerful internet partner that these music services could have,” Michael Nash, Warner Music Group’s executive vice president of digital strategy and business development, told “We think that it’s potentially very significant from the standpoint generating revenue and gives a big boost to legitimate digital music services.”

Now, why should bands that are not among those 20 “well known artists” care? Hypebot just reported that indie artists and labels might be able to control and improve the content of their search results with OneBox.

Says Matt Rosoff on CNet’s Digital Noise:

Eventually, artists will be able to use Lala’s platform to ensure that specific content, such as a new song, shows up in the music search results at Google… (they)  will also be able to work with Lala to sell products other than MP3 downloads through Google’s search results. For example, Lala is working on a deal with Rhino Records where users will be able to buy vinyl Joy Division records directly from Lala.

Interesting? Indeed. In any case, if you are an artist, getting your music to Lala and MySpace seems pretty essential.

By the way, the improved search results will link to bands’ websites as well.

Check out the OneBox in action.