Oct 15, 2020

Google's New Hum To Search Feature Uses AI to Identify Songs

Kristin Kerr

ust when you thought Google couldn’t get any smarter, the search engine is back at it again, this time with a musical feature. Google’s new hum to search feature was released this week and allows users to hum, whistle, or sing a melody to the Google app. What might this be used for, you ask? Ever have those brain cloud moments when you can’t remember the name of a song to save your life, but you can hum a few bars of the chorus? Well, leave it to Google to come up with a solution to this popular first-world problem. Let's dive into some of the details about Google’s new hum to search feature.


“Hey Google!”

Google’s new hum to search feature is available on Google’s mobile app and Google Assistant. If using Google Assistant, simply say “Hey Google” prior to asking “What’s this song?”. The feature itself is fairly simple to use. All you have to do is ask, “What’s this song?” and then proceed to hum, whistle, or sing the melody for 10 to 15 seconds. Worried about your voice cracking while trying to hit some of those higher-pitched notes? Don’t worry, Google’s got your back. The results will include several probable songs, along with the search engine’s estimation of how likely it is that each is the one you’re looking for. So even if your pitch isn’t totally on par, you’ll still be able to use the feature. 

The feature is currently available in English on iOS, and in more than  20 languages on Android.

Doesn’t This Already Exist?

The idea of humming a song into an app wasn’t first adopted by Google. Other applications, such as SoundHound offer a similar feature; however, Google’s enhancing its overall application usability by adding this new feature to its already existing features; sort of like making Google a one-stop-shop for many.

So What’s Google’s Feature Difference?

The difference with Google’s new hum to search feature is that the software analyzes the tune the user hums and turns it into a sequence of digits that are then compared to digitized songs that appear similar. In simplified terms, Google has adopted artificial intelligence for music recognition; something the company has been working towards for a number of years. 


Will This Be Popular?

There are definitely times where you have a song melody in your head that you just can’t put the name on, but in reality, how often would people really be utilizing Google’s new hum to search feature? Well, according to Aparna Chennapragada, a Google Vice President, people ask Google “What song is playing?” nearly 100 million times each month. So yeah, it’s safe to say this feature will be fairly popular upon its release.

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