/pixelphone/community?hl=en
/pixelphone/community?hl=en
11/2/17
Original Poster
Brandon-PM

Now Playing - New for Pixel 2: Always know what song is on

Hi everyone,

 

I want to share a little more about one of our new features this year - Now Playing.

 

Now Playing automatically recognizes the music playing around you and tells you what it is on your Always-On Display. Have you ever wondered what that cool song in the cafe is? Or about that amazing song in a movie that doesn’t have any lyrics? Now your Pixel 2 can tell you.

 

 

You can turn this feature on under Settings > Sound > Advanced > Now Playing.

 

The feature works in two stages: first, it detects music; second, it recognizes the song. This all happens entirely on your Pixel 2 without any information being sent to Google. You’ll find that the feature still works even when your phone is in airplane mode.

 

Music detection works just like “Ok, Google.” Your Pixel 2 is able to pick up the distinct audio signature of music, and it’s able to do this continuously at low power. When music is detected, your Pixel 2 starts song recognition. It takes a few seconds of audio, flattens it into a fingerprint, and then matches it to a database of tens of thousands of song fingerprints on your phone. Your phone’s database is updated weekly so that it always has the newest and most popular songs (though you’ll find it’s got a lot of great oldies, too.)

 

When a match is found, it appears on your Always-On Display, and you can double tap it to ask the Google Assistant for more information. You can learn more about the song and artist, watch the video on YouTube, or open the song in Google Play Music or Spotify to save it for later. When you double tap, only the song name and artist are sent with your request. No audio is ever uploaded for Now Playing.

 

Of course, Now Playing can’t recognize every song ever recorded. And you’ll find it sometimes waits a while to refresh when a new song starts. These are trade-offs we’ve made to help you discover new songs while also keeping the database compact and power consumption at a minimum. If you’re ever in a bind and need to know the name of a song right away, you can always ask your Assistant “what’s this song?” It will immediately collect a snippet of audio to match against Google’s full database of tens of millions of songs.

 

So that’s Now Playing. We hope it helps you discover new music that you might otherwise have missed. We’d love to hear your thoughts: what can we do to help you get more out of the feature?

 

Brandon

Product Manager, Now Playing


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All Replies (214)
Nick Emrich
11/2/17
Nick Emrich
I like this feature in theory but I've had it turned on all week and I've yet to see the function actually work. Maybe it's because we don't listen to top 40? Maybe the volume of our studio music is too low? I like the assistant fallback though.
anzenketh
11/2/17
anzenketh
A app that shows the history of what it saw would be nice. I think there is already one that exists but built into the feature would be even more useful. 
Daniel Shokouhi
11/2/17
Daniel Shokouhi
This is the app, definitely worth the $1.   My feature request would be to customize the database on the phone based on the users choice in music.

11/2/17
Original Poster
Brandon-PM
Hey, Nick, thanks for flagging this. We don't want you to only like it in theory; we want you to be able to like it for real.

Do you mind trying something for me? Could you please plug in your phone while on WiFi and then toggle the feature "off" then back "on" in Settings? And then after that please leave it plugged in on WiFi for a few more minutes. 

The reason why is that I'm wondering if something didn't work right when you first turned the feature on and your song fingerprint database updated. We do these database updates when your phone is plugged in and on WiFi to be respectful of your battery life and data plan. Toggling the feature "off" then "on" will restart the system looking for its initial update. Follow-on updates come weekly and should happen when you're charging on WiFi as normal, like overnight. 
Loxl
11/2/17
Loxl
Is this a region specific feature? The promo video for the Pixel 2 in India doesnt have the Now Playing bit..
Also, the assistant doesnt recognise songs playing either. "What's this song?" doesnt work here. 


Google user
11/2/17
Google user
I had Now Playing enabled while watching Stranger Things 2 and it picked up most non-incidental music that played without significant discussion and for a notable duration. I'd guesstimate 70% of non-incidental music was picked up and identified. Pretty cool! On Halloween it picked up the opening music to Charlie Brown and the Great Pumpkin. I have yet to use it in public, as my phone is typically out of sight or in use--not just sitting on the lock screen.

It's not limited to top 40 hits.
VoltaicShock
11/2/17
VoltaicShock

Your phone’s database is updated weekly so that it always has the newest and most popular songs (though you’ll find it’s got a lot of great oldies, too.)

Is there a way to control this? Does it only do it over WiFi so it doesn't use my data?

kic Gaming
11/2/17
kic Gaming
Hi Brandon,

Thanks for reaching out to the community.

Overall, it's a pretty cool feature. I've seen it kick in a few times and it's a pleasant surprise every time I see that the title and artist are right there at the bottom of my phone. One thing I would suggest is to increase the "field" size on the screen. Some songs (and/or artists) have long(ish) names and the result gets cut off because the character limit has been reached. Considering there's still another good inch or two on either side of the field, another ten or twenty characters (obviously, there has to be a limit somewhere...) might help show more of the songs/artists that are overflowing the field.

Also, if it could do it a little faster, that'd be excellent as well. I understand that may not be technically feasible given the low power state the phone is in while doing it (and that it's doing it locally, and thus has a limited DB), but hey, you asked for something that'd make it better, and there you have it.

I haven't had a chance to test it against the music I typically listen to (power/symphonic/etc. metal, classic rock/metal), but it's still been enjoyable to see it identify a song when I'm in a store and didn't expect to see that on the screen. I'm not certain how useful it'll be six months from now, but it is certainly nifty and makes for a fun party trick right now.

Cheers.

-kic
Zaid Siddiqui
11/2/17
Zaid Siddiqui
This feature is amazing, but we should have the option of downloading a slightly larger amount of information about songs to the device so the Now Playing feature has more data to match against.
Nick Emrich
11/2/17
Nick Emrich
Hey it worked!! Whoa. This is great, thanks Brandon. I'm glad I hit you up. 
203 MORE
John Bowdre
2/13/19
John Bowdre
@Tsarstepan,

The original post mentions
This all happens entirely on your Pixel 2 without any information being sent to Google. You’ll find that the feature still works even when your phone is in airplane mode. 

The phone stores a local database of music thumbprints that it uses to identify music it hears. Nothing gets transmitted over your mobile data connection. The database periodically gets updated - but only while the phone is both charging and connected to Wi-Fi.

This feature will not impact your monthly data usage. 
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