We tested Google’s new Hum to Search feature with mixed results

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Have a song stuck in your head but all you know is the tune? You can now Google that tune by humming it.

On Thursday, Google launched a new Hum to Search feature for the Google App (though it works in the Google search widget as well) and as it suggests, you can hum a tune and Google will do its best to identify the song.

“After you’re finished humming, our machine learning algorithm helps identify potential song matches. And don’t worry, you don’t need perfect pitch to use this feature. We’ll show you the most likely options based on the tune,” senior product manager at Google Search, Krishna Kumar, explained in a blog post.

“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,” Kumar added.

Google says it’s using a machine learning algorithm that is able to transform a song into a number-based sequence which represents the song’s melody.

This sequence reportedly takes singing, whistling, humming and studio recordings into account to try and match the dulcet tones of your voice to a song.

So how well does it work? More importantly, does it work at all?

We chose three songs that we reckon are pretty recognisable namely, Alors on Danse by Stromae, Dreams by Fleetwood Mac and The Real Slim Shady by Eminem.

Of the three older tracks, Hum to Search was able to identify one correctly (Dreams by Fleetwood Mac), one as a Limp Bizkit song (Alors on Danse by Stromae) and it was unable to identify The Real Slim Shady at all following multiple attempts.

Given that this feature uses a machine learning algorithm and it was released to the world less than 24 hours ago, we suspect that the feature will get better over time as more folks hum into their smartphones.

Of course humming a tune isn’t especially new. Services such as SoundHound and Shazam have allowed you to search by humming for ages.

What is nice is that this functionality is now caked into Google and you don’t need to download an additional app to try to identify a song.

Hum to Search is available iOS but restricted to the English language for now while for Android the feature is available in over 20 languages with more on the way.

On a completely unrelated note, Fleetwood Mac’s Dreams which was released in 1977 and is currently sitting at 21 on the Billboard Hot 100. We suspect this because of this TikTok from user 420doggface208.

2020 sure is wild.

[Image – CC 0 Pixabay]

Brendyn Lotz

Brendyn Lotz

Brendyn Lotz writes news, reviews, and opinion pieces for Hypertext. His interests include SMEs, innovation on the African continent, cybersecurity, blockchain, games, geek culture and YouTube.


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