What's this song?

Trying to identify a song that pops up in a crowded mall, a TV show scene, or drifting up the street from a block party can be hard for even the most discerning ears, but that's why we've got Google Assistant. Google Assistant's Sound Search feature is the latest evolution of a feature that's been popping in and out of Google Play and Android phones for years, but thankfully for us, this one doesn't require a tacky widget or a ridiculously long sample window.

In fact, all you really need is your Android phone, and a cool song.

How to use Google Assistant to identify songs

  1. Speak the command "OK Google, what's this song?" or "Hey Google, what song is playing?"
  2. Google will listen through your phone's microphone and sample the song, creating a "fingerprint" of the song to match against its database.

If the database finds a match, Google Assistant will return the result. If it doesn't find a match, you may need to try identifying the song in a quieter environment, at a louder volume, or in the case of live/concert/remixed performances, the fingerprint may vary too much from the song fingerprint on file for a conclusive match.

When giving the command for Google Assistant to use Sound Search, you may need to be careful of your phrasing. Sound Search's commands overlap the media controls commands for displaying the currently playing song — "What's playing?" and "What song is playing?" — so if you give this command and get the response of "Nothing's playing right now", try rephrasing the command.

Platforms that Google Assistant Sound Search works on

Sound Search on Google Assistant is a lot more sophisticated than you might think, and even though the feature is server-based, the platforms you can use it on are still somewhat small.

  • Android phones and tablets
  • iPhone and iPad
  • Google Assistant integrated headphones

Hopefully Sound Search for Google Assistant will be available for all platforms, but until then, so long as it's available on phones, you'll hopefully be able to figure out what that song came up at the office party before it gets hopelessly stuck in your head for the next few weeks.