Technology really has come a long way. Now you can find that song that’s stuck in your head by humming, singing, or whistling it into a Google Search.
Remember earlier this month when you heard that song coming home from the grocery store? Remember how the notes were stuck in your head but you just could not remember the lyrics for the life of you? And the best way to get a song out of your head is to listen to it out loud in its entirety. But how do you play and sing to a song you don’t know the lyrics to?
You don’t have to spend hours (or even days) trying to find that song anymore. And you don’t have to try and sing it perfectly into Shazam (I may or may not have done this a few times). It’s now a simple hum into Google Search away.
Google’s hum, whistle, or sing to search works by using machine learning to combine a song’s melodic ‘fingerprint’ to your search.
Each song has its own unique “fingerprint.” Every song’s chorus and melody is specific to that song. So when you hum, whistle, or sing into Google Search, it matches your search with the song’s “fingerprint.”
As they put it:
“When you hum a melody into Search, our machine learning models transform the audio into a number-based sequence representing the song’s melody,” states the blog post. “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.”
This hum to search technology is the work of Google’s AI Research team’s music recognition technology.
Back in 2017, they launched their Now Playing on the Pixel 2, which used “deep neural networks to bring low-power recognition of music to mobile devices.” Then, in 2018, they leveraged that technology to the SoundSearch feature in the Google app and grew the library of music to millions of tracks.
Try it out for yourself.
To search for a song by humming, whistling, or singing simply open the latest version of the Google app or find your Google Search widget, tap the mic icon, and say “what’s this song?” or click the “Search a song” button. If you have a Google Assistant device you can ask, “what’s this song?” and then hum, sing, or whistle for 10-15 seconds.
I would love to hear the recordings that Google collects on these.
What songs are you humming to search for?