The question of what appears in Google search results when people look for their favourite music artists has sparked controversy in the past: rightsholders regularly attacked Google for returning links to illegal downloads.
They’ll be happier about Google’s latest search feature, which has been announced tonight. It’s called ‘search posts’, and will offer social network-style updates from musicians that appear when they are searched for.
“The next time you’re wondering about Lorde’s upcoming tour dates or Steve Aoki’s new music video, you can hear the update directly from them – plus Sia, Son Little, Sofi Tukker, Shakira, and Kygo – through a post in Search,” explained Google’s blog post.
“When you look up one of these musicians, you’ll find updates from them in their Search results, inside their Knowledge Panel. There, you can find images, videos, GIFs and text posted directly by the artist you’re searching for.”
Google is inviting musicians to get verified – including a blue checkmark similar to those on Twitter and Facebook – and start posting their updates.
(That process, according to Google’s site: “To get started, do a Google search for the name you want to claim, click on the little sentence under the Knowledge Panel asking if you manage the online presence, and follow the instructions. It usually just takes a minute or two, and once verified you can start posting immediately.”)
Posts on Google isn’t a brand new feature, but today’s news is its global expansion. In March 2017, the company launched ‘posts on Google’ for musicians in Brazil only, with local artist Vanessa da Mata one of the first to test it out.
It’s a reflection of how Google’s music teams are knitting together that YouTube’s global head of music Lyor Cohen has put out a statement tonight on the expansion.
“Giving artists the ability to manage how they show up on Google when fans are searching for information is critical, so I’m really pleased to see this new feature be made available to artists worldwide,” he said.