Google has introduced a new feature that allows users to hum, whistle or sing a melody to search the song stuck in their heads. The company announced the feature called ‘Hum to Search’ in its latest ‘Search On 2020’ event on October 15. Lyrics, name of the artist, or perfect pitch aren’t a requirement to avail this feature.
To use it, you have to open the latest version of the Google app, or Google search widget, on your phone, tap the mic icon and say “what’s this song?” or click on the ‘search a song’ button. Then, start humming the tune for 10-15 seconds.
“After you’re finished humming, our machine learning algorithm helps identify potential song matches. And don’t worry; you don’t need perfect pitch to use this feature. We’ll show you the most likely options based on the tune,” said Krishna Kumar, senior product manager, Google Search.
The machine learning models transform the audio into a sequence based on numbers which represent the song’s melody. The models can identify songs from various sources like humans singing, whistling, or even, studio recordings. These machine learning models can also identify instruments used, or a voice’s timbre and tone.
According to Google, a song’s melody is like its fingerprint and it has a differentiated number-based sequence. Google “Hum to Search” functions efficiently by comparing these sequences to thousands of songs in various languages. And then, identifies a match in real-time.
This technology started off as a ‘Now Playing’ feature introduced for Google Pixel 2 in 2017. It could identify songs playing around, even if the phone was offline. A year later, this advancement was brought to SoundSearch as a widget and expanded to categorise millions of songs. Now, this technology is so advanced that it does not need to hear the original audio or even lyrics to recognise tracks.
The ‘Results from Google Search’ include cover art, artist name, and a match percentage. This feature is available in English for iOS, and in more than 20 languages for Android. Google wishes to expand it more in the future.