Android Central

One of the many added goodies within Jelly Bean, is the Google Sound Search widget, sometimes referred to as Google Ears. It's really simple, but also a really nice touch to have built in to the OS. 

For some reason -- quite possibly some licensing stuff -- it isn't always there to choose from in the widget drawer for everybody. True, that when both my own Galaxy Nexus got the 4.1 update, and my new Nexus 7 arrived, neither had this widget. Being based in the UK, I imagine that it's got something to do with location. There are alternative apps, Shazam, Soundhound for example, but why should you have to use an alternative application when Google supposedly builds the functionality into the OS. 

Installing the apk that's been doing the rounds for a while doesn't do the trick either. On Jelly Bean it doesn't seem to like installing, but it works great on ICS. The app itself isn't missing from the device, it's just frozen so you can't use it. As too is Google Play Magazines, and Google Wallet. 

So, how do you use it? Well, to unfreeze it requires root. But from there, it's real simple. Titanium Backup is a fantastically useful root application, and is what we'll be using here to make things happen. If you're not sure on what freezing and unfreezing is, we'll walk you through it.

Once you've opened Titanium Backup, and all the application data has loaded, go ahead and hit the "backup/restore" button at the top. You should then be presented with a comprehensive list of every single application installed on your device. Including, all the system apps. Scroll through until you see "Sound Search for Google Play" -- which will also be highlighted by a purple bar -- click on it, and hit the defrost button. Next time you go into the widget drawer, there it will be, ready and waiting. 

Also, remember that clicking on a song once it's been identified won't do anything either, other than take you to the main Google Play Store front page. One day, maybe, Google will bring the full range of content to non-U.S. users. We can hope.  

The same tactic also applies to Google Play Magazines, and Google Wallet. But, outside of the U.S. there's not really anything you can use these for anyway, and Google Wallet will tell you so if you try to launch it. 

The only downside -- when you reboot your device, things will be reset and the app will be frozen again. But, if you're like me, your device rarely gets rebooted unless you're going in and out of recovery. So it's inconvenient, but not massively. 

 
There are 8 comments

stevozip says:

I wonder if this is related to the ringtone maker portion of Play Music that "released" with JB.

Amon_RA says:

Just install Package enabler if ears is region blocked : https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.eslack.pmenabler

Which does exactly the same as Titanium but is less useful all round compared to Titanium with its extra features :-)

JEvoUser says:

I still use Shazam since it actually keeps a history of songs I tagged instead of just being able to tag.

branant says:

I live outside the US and I had the same issue in Jelly Bean with Sound Search, Play Books, Play Magazines, Play movies and Wallet on my rooted GSM Galaxy Nexus. I solved it by setting my market to Verizon with MarketUnlocker and they all appeared after reboot.

Cyber Akuma says:

"There are alternative apps, Shazam, Soundhound for example, but why should you have to use an alternative application when Google supposedly builds the functionality into the OS."

There are alternative browsers, Firefox, Chrome for example, but why should you have to use an alternative application when Microsoft supposedly builds the functionality into the OS.

:P

charlie88#AC says:

Couldn't they make the widget resizable? That is one of their biggest selling point of ICS and JB. Resizable widgets. Google sure loves to drop the ball don't they?

I'm still really irritated by not having the back button in the Music widget and notification bar. Truly the stupidest thing about Android and they're sticking with it for yearssss now.

Julie henson says:

My call log is listing most of my incoming calls listed as Unknown. Many of thees people are in my contacts. I'm not getting the call back number info. I have no way of contacting these people. New callers think they are being ignored. Why is this happening?