A recent teardown of the Android System Intelligence APK (version S.6) revealed that Google was working on some significant improvements for the Now Playing feature on Pixel devices. Strings spotted in the teardown revealed that it was getting a major UI redesign and a “Now Playing Search” feature to help users send Google a clip of songs it couldn’t recognize. While the UI revamp is yet to make an appearance on Pixel devices, recent reports suggest that Google has started rolling out the search feature on Pixel phones running an Android 12 beta release.
According to 9to5Google, the new feature comes with the latest Android System Intelligence update and adds a new “Show search button on lock screen” toggle in the Now Playing settings. Its description states: “Identify songs playing nearby that aren’t recognized by your device.”
Enabling the feature brings up a pop-up that reads: “If a song isn’t identified using on-device recognition, you can tap the search icon to search for the song. When you search, Google receives relevant audio info needed to identify what’s playing nearby.” Here’s what the search icon looks like:
After you enable the feature, you should see this search icon every time your phone cannot recognize a song. If you tap on it, your phone will capture a short audio clip and send it to Google to identify the song. Once Google recognizes the song, the name will appear in the same location. But if it can’t, you’ll see a “No song found” alert instead. Essentially, it works exactly like Google’s “hum to search” and Google Assistant’s “what’s this song” features.
9to5Google notes that the time this new feature takes to identify a song depends on various factors, including volume, background noise, and connection speed. But, in its testing, the publication got consistently accurate results in under 5 seconds.
The Now Playing Search feature is currently rolling out to a limited number of Pixel devices running an Android 12 beta release. At the moment, we’re not sure if it will be available on all Pixel devices or not. We’ll make sure to let you know as soon as Google starts rolling it out widely.