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Google Introduces Hum-To-Search Function To Track Down Songs

Google has introduced the ability for mobile users to search for a song by simply humming its tune.

To do so, you have to head over to the latest version of the Google app or Google Search widget. You then tap the mic icon and either say “what’s this song?” or click the “Search a song” button. Alternatively, you can say “Hey Google, what’s this song?” if you’re using Google Assistant.

Afterwards, all you have is hum, whistle, or sing for 10 to 15 seconds. Google’s machine learning algorithm will then take over, and will display “the most likely options” to you afterwards. “Then you can select the best match and explore information on the song and artist, view any accompanying music videos or listen to the song on your favorite music app, find the lyrics, read analysis and even check out other recordings of the song when available,” says Google.

Explaining how it works, Google said, “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.”

Google also said that the hum-to-search feature is available in English on iOS and in over 20 languages on Android, with plans to expand to more languages.

I tried the function earlier this morning to see if it would lead me to an 80s song that I heard years ago and had given up on finding, and it succeeded with just one try. At long last, I will no longer be haunted by my inability to track that song down (the song is Spagna’s “Call Me”, in case you were wondering). Thanks, Google.


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