Google will launch music search pages next week and include ways for consumers to buy songs for download, according to people familiar with the matter.My first reaction was, that's nice, but iTunes already does all that. How will this be different?
The music pages will package images of musicians and bands, album artwork, links to news, lyrics and song previews, along with a way to buy songs, they said.
Then I remembered my introduction to Google.
About a decade ago, I used AltaVista for all my searches. It worked. I was perfectly happy with it. A coworker used another search engine that she really liked, however, and she recommended that I try it. The name of that search engine was ... Dogpile.
I gave it a shot. Then I promptly went back to AltaVista. I had nothing against Dogpile -- their results were just as good, as far as I could tell. I just preferred what I was used to.
Meanwhile, I kept hearing about this new search engine called Google. One day I decided to see what all the fuss was about. Just like Dogpile, it seemed perfectly OK, but I couldn't really tell the difference.
Except that after I tried it, I never used anything else. And I didn't know why.
In retrospect, I think it was the clean design that hooked me. AltaVista was cluttered with all sorts of links below the search field that I never bothered with. Google had the logo, the search box, and a whole lot of whitespace.
So who knows. Maybe Google will offer a better aesthetic experience than iTunes. If not, maybe they'll at least be able to hook me up with some Beatles songs.