Here’s how to search for a song on Google by humming the tune

By Iain Leggat
Friday, 16th October 2020, 12:10 pm
Updated Friday, 16th October 2020, 12:11 pm

Have you ever had a song stuck in your head but not known its name? Google may have a solution for you.

The tech company has added a new “hum to search” feature to its search tools. The tool will let users hum, whistle or sing a melody into their device, and Google will use machine learning techniques to attempt to identify it.

‘What’s the song?’

Available in the Google app on both Android and iOS devices, or in the Google Assistant mode, to use the feature users just need to ask Google, “What’s the song?” or tap the newly added ‘search a song’ button.

They can then hum the tune for around 10 to 15 seconds and Google will show results based on how likely a match it has found.

Users will then be able to tap the results and listen to find out whether it's the song they were after.

How does the technology work?

The software uses machine learning to “transform the audio into a number-based sequence representing the song’s melody.” This number sequence is then used to compare to existing songs. This all happens in roughly the amount of time it takes for us to blink.

When developing the feature, the company says it trained the models on “a variety of sources, including human singing, whistling or humming, as well as studio recordings,” taking aways the instruments on tracks and vocal quality to focus on the numeric sequence.

This means that if you’re tone deaf or have perfect pitch, the feature should still work.