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Google joins the music club with new search facility

LONDON – Google has responded to the growing music downloads market with the launch of a music search facility that goes live next week.

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The search engine was unveiled by Marissa Mayer, Google's director of web products. The service will launch on Thursday, December 22, and will be listed alongside Google's other services such as News and Images.

The new service asks users to enter the name of an artist into the search box. Results will contains some information about that artist, including the name, a few albums and a picture, as well as a "more music results" link.

Additional information includes links to news, photos, cover art, discussion forums and other websites relevant to the search query.

There will be no charge for users for the service and, unlike Yahoo!, no plans to create a music library of its own, according to Mayer.

Nevertheless, the new facility is likely to attract more advertisers wanting to target music fans and add to the company's fortunes, which made $4.2bn (£2.4bn) in revenues in the first nine months of 2005.

Google is not the first to offer a music search facility online. As well as Yahoo!, which provides web searches for solo artists or groups, Ask Jeeves offers a search that leads to a short biography and picture along with links to read the full biography on AllMusic.com.

Google said that while it is only showing music links in limited cases to start with, it plans to expand the range of searches that trigger the feature over time.

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