Search engine Yahoo is set to unveil a service on Thursday allowing users to search millions of audio files - including songs from iTunes, Rhapsody, Napster and other music-downloading sites.
The service, which is still in its testing or "beta" period, is called Yahoo Audio and can be found at http://next.yahoo.com.
Other search engines, such as Singingfish, already offer audio search. Yahoo even has an old version. But Yahoo Audio is the first to access songs featured on most major music download sites.
That gives Yahoo an important victory in its competition with Google.
Yahoo Audio works much like the company's video and image services. Users type in words or phrases and are returned a list of audio files that they can click on and play.
If a song is for sale by a music site, Yahoo Audio will link to a Web page where it can be purchased. Users can tell Yahoo which music site they prefer so that its results appear first.
Yahoo Audio will not include songs from file-sharing sites such as Kazaa and Grokster, which are often used to trade copyrighted music. If a record label complains about any song featured on the site, Yahoo Audio will take it off the list, says Technology Director Bradley Horowitz, informs USA Today.
According to CPU Review, Yahoo Audio Search users that already subscribe to an online music service will benefit from the Preferred Audio Service, a feature which identifies a users' service and finds audio files from their favorite provider allowing a one-click connection to the applicable service. Preferred Audio Service also expands the catalogue of available audio files by offering alternate sources for files the users' preferred service may not include.
“By offering a single search path across multiple content sources, Yahoo! has made it easier for consumers to find podcasts, music, or other audio files in one place,” said Su Li Walker, Analyst, Yankee Group. “By further enhancing the search experience with personalization tools, Yahoo! is delivering an innovative model for consumers to use the web to find and listen to audio files of their choice.”