Yesterday, Google launched Google Discover Music. The new music search service provides links to Google partners such as Imeem.com, Lala and Rhapsody where music by the artist can be purchased. If a search is made for a specific track, it can be listened to on a player embedded in the search results.
To promote the launch, Lala is offering several free tracks and exclusives from artists like Tim McGraw and Phoenix. Most of the exclusives are live versions and similar tracks that are given away as promotions by record labels. When the link to Lala is followed, a pop up box appears with a “Free MP3 button (right).
I found the music search results to be very hit and miss. I entered in some popular artist and did not get a music search result at all. Searching for specific remixes and tracks of the same name from different albums was almost impossible. Below are the screens for the Google Music Discovery landing page and the search result for Tim McGraw.
I downloaded the free Tim McGraw song and added it to iTunes. I was disappointed to discover that the album art is inferior. It is a 550 x 550 image rather than the standard 600 x 600. Click the thumbnail (right) to see the actual image file included with the Lala track.
It is clear that Google needs to do a lot of work to improve their music search. The search results should anticipate how people search for music based on artist, album, song title, lyrics and fragments of this information.
Otherwise, it is still easier to find the music on Amazon.com and iTunes. Unless Google can help consumers find music that is difficult to locate and popular rare tracks, they are not going to be serious competition to the two major online music retailers. Offering music files of superior quality would also be a good idea. I will avoid Lala simply for the inferior album cover art attached to their product.