An often overlooked Google Pixel 2-only feature is its “now playing” option. It’s pretty simple, but in my view, it’s one of the coolest exclusive features on any smartphone. It utilizes deep neural networks to continuously analyze background audio picked up by your phone’s microphone. It then creates a unique fingerprint of the audio based on small snippets and compares this fingerprint to a large, on-device database. When it finds a match, it displays the artist and song title on the lock screen, on the ambient display/always on display, and/or in a notification. It’s all done offline as well, making it highly power efficient. Google has used what they’ve learned from developing Now Playing on the Pixel 2 to further refine Google Assistant‘s Song Search.
Google is now employing the same technology in Google Assistant’s Song Search feature so that you’ll get more accurate and faster results than ever before. It’ll work the exact same way too. Simply ask Google Assistant what song is playing, and it will listen for the music that’s playing and identify it for you. It’s just going to be faster and more accurate, without any loss of functionality. You can’t use it offline, though. Google broke down the process of how it worked so well on the Google Pixel 2 and scaled it up to work on a server for millions of songs.
The main difference is that, since Google Assistant’s Song Search is a server-side system, it’s not limited to the same processing constraints as on the Pixel 2. As such, it gives Google a lot more flexibility to increase the amount of data processed to help identify a song more quickly. For more popular songs, the matching threshold is also lowered so that less processing power is used than for a less popular song. Google believes that there’s still room for improvement, even after already taking a system which already worked well offline and improving it massively with an online connection. It’s a great tool for those who find themselves wondering what a song is called when they’re outside, and we look forward to seeing even more improvements in the future.
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