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Name that tune: Google can now identify songs based on hums and whistles

October 15, 2020, 8:46 PM UTC

Google Search can now help users find the name of that pesky tune stuck in their heads, even if they only remember the melody.

The search engine announced on Thursday that users can hum or whistle a song to their mobile devices, and Google Search will find its name and artist as well as relevant search results like music videos.

“People ask Google, ‘What song is playing?’ almost 100 million times a month,” Aparna Chennapragada, vice president and general manager for consumer shopping at Google, said during an unveiling of new search features on Thursday.

Here’s how it works: A user can tap the mic icon in Google’s search app or the Google search widget and either tap the “search a song” button or tap the mic button and say, “What’s this song?” If using Google Assistant, they can say, “Hey, Google, what’s this song?” Then, the user just sings, hums, or whistles the tune—even imperfectly—for 10 to 15 seconds.

Google’s machine learning converts the audio into a number-based sequence that represents the song’s melody. Users will get a list of options that are likely matches.

The new feature is available in English on iOS devices and on Android devices, along with more than 20 other languages.

During Thursday’s event, Google also unveiled new uses for Google Lens, its image recognition technology. For example, starting next month users can tap and hold on any image they see within the Google app or Chrome on Android, and Google will surface shopping search results similar to what’s in the picture. It will also offer styling suggestions for clothing items. 

Similarly, Google will soon use the technology to help with buying a car. When users search for a car, Google will let them see an augmented-reality version of it in front of them or in their driveway using their camera. Users can also change the car’s color and zoom in to see features on the dashboard. Google did not say when this feature would debut. 

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