Google Is Testing Hum To Search Shazam-Like Music Feature To Help You Find Tunes

YouTube sound
We've all been there—you've got a song stuck in your head, but you aren't even sure what it is. As the melody floats around your brain, you might find yourself humming it. Do that with the YouTube app open, and you could instantly find out what it is. Google is testing a new feature that lets you hum a tune for a couple of seconds, and YouTube will identify it.

The feature is integrated with the YouTube app's existing voice search. With a tap, you can switch from voice to humming mode (Google doesn't have a slick name for this yet). With that done, you just have to hum that brain worm for three seconds, and YouTube will scour its audio database to hopefully figure out what it is. You can also have YouTube listen to the song playing someplace, but that's far from new technology. When the song is identified, YouTube will provide links to the official song listing, user-generated videos, remixes, and more.

Google stresses on its support site that this feature is still in testing, and there's no way for you to opt into it. The humming analysis has rolled out to "a small percentage of people across the globe" who are using Android devices to watch YouTube. We've checked myriad devices and accounts, and none of them have access to the audio search yet. And yes, this feature is in the YouTube app, not YouTube Music. YouTube should arguably be focused on video, but Google is Google. 

shazam home%20copy

Song ID technology has existed for longer than the modern smartphone. The biggest name in this space, Shazam, was available on feature phones 20 years ago. Today, Shazam is owned by Apple, but it's not even a new idea for Google. The company's Assistant system can identify songs if you ask, and Pixel phones can detect and ID songs in the background and display the results on the lock screen. It doesn't even need an internet connection to do this. However, those methods require more than three seconds of audio, sometimes as much as 10-15 seconds. Three seconds of humming is a lot easier, but we don't know how accurate your rendition needs to be.

Google regularly test new features like this, deploying them to a tiny fraction of users and watching the feedback roll in. If you've got YouTube song search, you're one of the lucky few. However, the feature could vanish from your phone just as suddenly as it appeared. Such is the fickle nature of Google's product testing.