We’ve all experienced those moments when a catchy tune gets stuck in our heads, but we struggle to identify it. Now, Google is aiming to solve this musical mystery with a novel feature being tested. Integrated within the YouTube app’s voice search, this innovative tool enables users to hum a tune for a brief period. By tapping into this feature, users can seamlessly switch from voice mode to “humming mode.” With just a three-second hum, YouTube’s audio database is then utilized to potentially identify the song.
Upon successful identification, YouTube will offer a range of resources, including links to the official song listing, user-created videos, remixes, and more. Although the concept of using audio recognition technology to identify songs playing in the background isn’t new, this “Hum to Search” feature takes a more interactive approach, allowing users to initiate searches based on the melodies they have in mind. While Google hasn’t given a name to this function yet, its potential to alleviate the frustration of not knowing that tune is undoubtedly captivating.
Google’s “Hum to Search” feature remains in its experimental phase, with the company underscoring on its support site that this function is currently being tested and not available for active opt-in. The analysis of hummed tunes has been introduced to a limited subset of users who employ Android devices to access YouTube. While numerous devices and accounts have been checked, none have been granted access to the audio search feature. It’s important to note that this functionality is confined to the YouTube app, not YouTube Music.
While YouTube’s primary focus is typically video content, this experimental feature underscores Google’s commitment to exploring innovative ways to enrich user experiences. The ability to hum a tune to identify its name adds a distinct and interactive dimension to the platform. The testing phase, however, involves only a “small percentage of people across the globe” who use Android devices to access YouTube.
It’s pertinent to acknowledge that the concept of song identification technology predates the modern smartphone. Notably, Shazam, a prominent name in this realm, was accessible on feature phones two decades ago. Although Shazam is now under Apple’s ownership, Google has also ventured into song identification. Google Assistant can identify songs upon request, while Pixel phones can detect and identify songs in the background, even displaying results on the lock screen. The latter method doesn’t require an internet connection and can operate with as much as 10-15 seconds of audio. In comparison, the “Hum to Search” feature simplifies this by requiring only three seconds of humming. Nonetheless, the accuracy of this rendition’s match remains unclear.
Google’s practice of testing novel features by deploying them to a limited audience and gauging feedback remains consistent. Those with access to the YouTube song search feature are fortunate, but it’s important to acknowledge that the feature’s availability could vanish as swiftly as it emerged. This is emblematic of the dynamic nature of Google’s product testing initiatives.