Google’s last announcement at Search On 2020 will likely be it's most popular. Starting yesterday, you can “Hum to Search” using Google to find out what song has been stuck in your head. The feature lets users hum, whistle or sing a melody to the Google app, which then tries to track down the song you had in mind. According to Google, you don’t even have to hum in the right pitch for the feature to recognize songs. The feature works on the latest version of the Google app and is also available on Google Assistant.
To get started, open the Google app, tap on the mic icon, and say ‘What’s this song’. You can also tap on the ‘Search a song’ button that appears on this screen. If you’re using the Assistant, you can say “Hey Google, what’s this song?” After the Listening page appears, you can start humming to identify the song.
After you’re finished humming or singing, Google’s AI algorithms try to identify potential song matches and will show relevant results along with match percentages. You can then even explore information on the song and artist, view any accompanying music videos or listen to the song on a music app, find the lyrics, read the analysis or even check out other recordings of the song if they’re available. However, the first result is likely to be the song that you’re looking for. Google says this feature is built based on its AI team’s previous work in music recognition technology used in the ‘Now Playing’ feature on Pixel phones. The company then expanded this technology to its SoundSearch feature in the Google app back in 2018.
"When you hum a melody into Search, our machine learning models transform the audio into a number-based sequence representing the song’s melody. Our models are trained to identify songs based on a variety of sources, including humans singing, whistling or humming, as well as studio recordings. The algorithms also take away all the other details, like accompanying instruments and the voice’s timbre and tone. What we’re left with is the song’s number-based sequence or the fingerprint.
We compare these sequences to thousands of songs from around the world and identify potential matches in real-time. For example, if you listen to Tones and I’s “Dance Monkey,” you’ll recognize the song whether it was sung, whistled, or hummed. Similarly, our machine learning models recognize the melody of the studio-recorded version of the song, which we can use to match it with a person’s hummed audio", explains Google.
The feature is currently available on both iOS and Android, with the latter providing the feature in over 20 different languages. This technology dates back to the Now Playing feature introduced with the Pixel 2 in 2017 that can identify songs playing around you even when offline. A year later, that advancement was brought to the SoundSearch widget. Now, Google does not need to hear the original audio or even lyrics to recognize tracks.