Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) has unveiled its latest no-brainer: a search function that allows surfers to easily find music and related information on artists and albums. It's a pretty sweet feature that seems to come surprisingly late to the game.

A Web surfer who types a band name, album title, or song lyric into the Google search bar will now get a list of online stores where they can buy the tunes in question. Those sites include the elephant in the room, Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iTunes, as well as rivals like Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) MSN Music, (NASDAQ:AMZN), and RealNetworks' (NASDAQ:RNWK) Rhapsody.

I decided to play around with the features myself. Typing "Nirvana" into the search bar gave me an album cover image at the top, with "More music results for Nirvana" just below it. That link led me to a page divided into "Artists," "Albums," and "Songs," including more images of album covers. Digging deeper, I was taken to a listing of albums, along with the online storefronts selling them -- including the big names above, plus retailers like Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) (look out for those censored lyrics), CD Universe, and Other nice touches include track listings, links to artists' websites, related news, artist photos, and links to Google Groups for fans who want to discuss their favorite music online.

Word on the street is that the various stores won't be giving Google a cut of any sales generated from successful music searches. Don't cry for the search giant, though; music search is yet another place for Google to generate additional revenue with its popular contextual ads.

It's worthwhile to note that Google's not the first company to beef up its music-related search results. A Yahoo! (NASDAQ:YHOO) search for a band or album, for example, also brings up specific results like images. But Yahoo! directs users to its own music service for downloads and videos, which may seem more self-serving than helpful. An MSN search also features its own music service prominently.

People have been using Google to learn more about music for a long time; I often use it to clear up nagging questions about song lyrics, though I usually go straight to iTunes, Amazon, or (for the really obscure stuff) when I'm seeking a specific album. However, Google's new musical search gathers many useful elements in one convenient place. Given the recent music madness online, I'm only wondering why it didn't happen sooner.

A gaggle of Google-y Foolishness:

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Alyce Lomax does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned.