The Google He added a new feature that lets you tell the song that’s stuck in your head by buzzing, beeping, or singing – a more useful version of the song-matching type feature that competitors like Shazam from Apple previously introduced. Starting today, users will be able to open the latest version of the Google mobile app or Google search tool, click on the microphone icon, and either verbally ask to search for a song or press the “Search for song” button and start making sounds.
The feature should be available to anyone using Google in English on iOS, or across more than 20 languages that already exist Android The company says it will grow this user group to more languages on both platforms in the future. Unsurprisingly, it is supported behind the scenes by the machine learning algorithms developed by the company.
Google says its matching technology won’t require you to be a Broadway star or even a choir member – it has built-in capabilities to accommodate varying degrees of musical sensitivity, and will provide a percentage confidence along with a number of possible matches. Clicking on any match will return more information about both the artist and the track, along with music videos and links that allow you to listen to the full song in the music app of your choice.
Google explains in a blog post announcing the feature that it is able to do this because it basically ignores the fuzz that represents your voice quality, any accompanying instruments, tone, and other details. The algorithm essentially boils the song to its core, coming up with a digital pattern that represents its core, or what Google calls a “fingerprint.”
This is an evolution of how Google’s current music recognition technology, found in the passive “Now Playing” feature on Pixel smartphones, works. This feature will passively listen in the background to the music, and provide a match when you find one in the offline database (all done locally). This same technology works for the SoundSearch feature that Google later introduced via its app.
Google isn’t the first to do so – SoundHound’s Midomi offers music matching via vocals or buzzes. But it is clear that Google is in widespread use, so it will be interesting to see if it can achieve better infection rates and general usage.