Google pretty much has its bases covered. Looking for an image? There’s Google Images. Looking for a video? Video results appear in search. As do products.

But one thing has been noticeably absent: music. Which is not an insignificant fact given that two of the top 10 search queries in the United States are music-related. But Google being Google, it has a plan for music.

Yesterday the search giant announced that it is rolling out a new search feature in the U.S. that will display in the SERPs where appropriate. To start, Google has partnered with MySpace/iLike, Lala, Pandora, imeem and Rhapsody. Their music will be included in music-related search results, and previews of songs will be available through MySpace/iLike and Lala.

In an effort to help searchers who are looking for a song without an artist name or title to go by, Google will surface music as available when a few lines of lyrics are added. But this isn’t just about helping searchers find music they already know about. No, Google is aiming for more lofty heights: music discovery. From the Official Google Blog:

Finally, a search engine should also be able to help you discover music you’ll like, even if you can’t tell it what exactly you want to hear. We’ve partnered with Pandora, imeem and Rhapsody to include links to their sites where you can discover music related to your queries as well.

feature doesn’t just make search better. It also helps people discover new
sources of licensed music online while helping artists to discover new
generations of fans and reconnect with longtime listeners. Our users love music,
and this tool introduces millions of music seekers in the U.S. to a new
generation of licensed online music services, from MySpace and Lala to Pandora,
imeem and Rhapsody.

According to Google’s blog post, “this is just a first step toward making search more musical“. But before anyone jumps to conclusions about where Google might go with music in the future, it’s worth pointing out that Google is — for now — avoiding the messy world of the music business.

R.J. Pittman, one of the Google employees behind the new search feature, told the LA Times:

We’re not in the music business per se. We don’t license the music nor sell the music directly on Google. We are merely
a music search feature.

We’ll have to wait and see whether or not Google can remain content as a “music search feature” but for the moment, I suspect that record label execs are pleased. Google isn’t giving them the newspaper treatment and if it can more efficiently expose licensed content to the millions of people searching for music-related keywords every month, that’s certainly going to be music to record label execs’ ears.

Photo credit: PresleyJesus via Flickr.