Google has won one of the most sought-after deals in the search engine market, becoming the exclusive provider of search functionality and search advertising to MySpace.com and other News Corp. websites.The exclusive deal calls for Google to provide general Web search, site search and vertical-type searches for MySpace.com and the majority of sites run by Fox Interactive Media, the News Corp. online division that entered into the deal with Google.Google will begin integrating its search and advertising services into MySpace.com and the other websites in this year\u2019s fourth quarter. The deal gives Google a major new outlet for the ads it sells via its AdSense program, and it should help MySpace.com increase its advertising revenue, which is generally considered to be significantly below its potential.As part of the deal, Google must make revenue-sharing payments totaling at least US$900 million to Fox Interactive Media between the beginning of 2007\u2019s first quarter and the end of 2010\u2019s second quarter, the companies said Monday in a joint statement. In turn, Fox Interactive Media must achieve various traffic and other goals.The deal should provide MySpace with a higher level of revenue than it is currently getting from search advertising, said industry analyst Rob Enderle of Enderle Group. "MySpace hasn\u2019t been making as much money as they think they can, and Google\u2019s ability to generate revenue in this [search advertising] space has been impressive," Enderle said.It remains to be seen how the deal will hold together, he said. "After a while, Google partners start feeling like they are doing the work and Google is getting too much money," he said.This deal is the first of many projects Fox Interactive Media plans to enter into with Google in the coming years, the companies said. Some other logical areas of collaboration for the companies would be video and instant messaging, said Allen Weiner, a Gartner analyst. A video-distribution deal like the one Google signed Monday with MTV Networks would be a good fit, he said. In the MTV deal, Google will distribute ad-supported content from MTV to targeted website publishers. Meanwhile, Google could improve MySpace\u2019s subpar in-house IM service, Weiner said.In June, Peter Chernin, News Corp.\u2019s president and chief operating officer, said the company was considering "auctioning off" MySpace.com\u2019s search business to a major search engine operator.At the time, Chernin explained that too many users leave the social networking site to go to external search engines, mostly Google, and that every time that happens, MySpace.com loses an opportunity to generate ad revenue.Until now, MySpace.com had used Yahoo\u2019s search engine and carried sponsored search ads from Yahoo\u2019s network. It seems News Corp. had been trying to strike a broader, more profitable deal with a search engine provider than the one it had with Yahoo.It\u2019s likely News Corp. was attracted to Google\u2019s ad-serving technology, which targets ads with more accuracy and flexibility than Yahoo\u2019s system, Weiner said. "Google provides such precise [search] keyword targeting that MySpace will likely get the maximum amount of revenue out of it," he said.MySpace.com, launched in 2004, has become one of the world\u2019s most popular websites, with more than 73 million registered users. It is used mainly by teens and young adults to set up personal profiles, post photos, keep a journal and stay in touch with friends. News Corp., a global media conglomerate, last year paid more than a half-billion dollars for it and other websites owned by Intermix Media.Although News Corp. doesn\u2019t disclose MySpace financial details, financial analysts generally agree, based on estimates, that the site\u2019s revenue should be much higher than it is, considering its enormous audience.In June, Chernin said MySpace\u2019s revenue was reaching "large numbers" and that it had been doubling every four months or so this fiscal year. "Revenue is growing incredibly quickly, and we think we\u2019ve just scratched the surface of how to monetize this [site]," he said then. By Juan Carlos Perez, IDG News Service (Miami Bureau)Related Links:\n\nGoogle to Place MTV Clips on Ad Network\n\nAd on MySpace Serves Up Adware to 1M PCs\n\nMySpace Tops Yahoo in U.S. Page Views\n\nMSN Spaces to Rival MySpace, Lure DevelopersCheck out our CIO News Alerts and Tech Informer pages for more updated news coverage.