Sorry, lyrics websites; but the fat lady is singing.
Google has started displaying the lyrics for select songs in search, potentially cutting off much of the search traffic to the dozens of lyrics websites online. The option is not available for all songs, but if you search for popular song titles like Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven" followed by "lyrics," you'll see the verses show up at the top of the search results.
A spokesperson for Google declined to comment on whether the feature is permanent or a test, but instead provided a tongue-in-cheek comment on the lyrics option that referenced the Led Zeppelin song.
"There's a feeling you get when you turn to a song and you know that the words have two meanings. Well it's whispered that now if you go search the tune, maybe Google will lead you to reason. Ooh, it makes you wonder…" the rep said.
One source familiar with the matter told Mashable that an English-version of the lyrics feature was introduced in the U.S. last week. The goal isn't necessarily to threaten lyrics websites, but rather to connect back to the Google Play store and make it that much easier to buy content there.
Ilan Zechory, cofounder of Genius (formerly Rap Genius), a service that annotates lyrics in addition to other content, told Mashable that "Google is ranking its own product above one that's better for the user." In other words, above Genius.
"To Google's credit, though their lyrics pages lack the depth of Genius', they are clean and free of intrusive advertisements," Zechory wrote in an email. "Overall we're happy to see Google take an interest in improving lyrics online and we'd love to collaborate with them to create the best lyric experience the Internet has ever seen."
For now, at least, Google seems content to be a solo act.