How many times have I been going about my business when I hear a song that I simply must know or add to a playlist? I’ll then exclaim, “Hey, Google, name this music!”
Sometimes I’m able to catch it in time, other times I’m not. If I don’t get in, I’ll try to look up some of the lyrics online. But I might not have a chance if it’s a piece of classical music.
So it was only natural that I was intrigued when I learned about Currently Playing, a useful function on my Pixel 7 Pro that would automatically recognize music playing nearby and display the title and artist on my home screen. Yet my initial concern was for my privacy. A phone needs to be listening in order to identify a music.
Is someone hearing what a phone is hearing if it is listening? Does it have access to recordings of what it hears on a distant server for subsequent listening?
The technology uses “a music database saved on your device,” according to information in the phone’s settings, and “the automated recognition process never sends audio or background conversations to Google” or, based on what I’ve read, to a third-party service. This implies that by turning on the feature, your privacy is not being compromised.
You may always turn on the feature, put your device in Airplane mode, and try playing music nearby if you’re worried and want to test this. You can be even more certain that your phone isn’t transferring information to anyone if the functionality is still functional.
The lock screen search button has a second setting that, when used, sends “a brief, digital audio fingerprint” to Google when you tap it. When in Airplane mode, this feature is inoperative.
Regardless of genre, I tested the Now Playing feature and discovered that it was generally accurate. Yet I’ve discovered that identifying a piece of music frequently depends on its lyrics. Once the singers joined in, it, for instance, recognized Mozart’s “Requiem in D Minor, K. 626.”
It instantly identified “Adagio for Strings” by Samuel Barber when I played it for it. It did had some difficulties with Ben Lovett’s Hellraiser album because it was unable to identify any of the songs. I put it to the test against other soundtracks and discovered that it was unable of identifying the “Theme From Jurassic Park” by John Williams, one of the most known pieces of music, as well as Williams’ other major success, “Star Wars Main Title.”
Even with some of my more obscure artists, the feature was startlingly accurate outside of original soundtracks. Just be aware that instrumental music have certain issues with the functionality (although it did immediately recognize “YYZ” by Rush). To put it another way, results may vary.
Let me walk you through turning this function on if it sounds like something you might want to utilize.
How to configure the lock screen on your Pixel to recognize music with Currently Playing Conditions
For this, a Pixel phone is all you’ll need. With the exception of the first-generation Pixel, all Pixel phones have a variant of this function; the Pixel 3a and later have a favorite feature, while the Pixel 4 and later have a lock screen search button.
All you need is that. Let’s name some tunes
1. Opening Settings
Pull down the Notification Shade twice, unlock your Android device, and then hit the gear icon in the bottom right corner of the screen.
2. Start Playing
Find Sound & Vibration on the Settings app’s home screen and tap it. Search for and press Currently Playing on that new page.
3. Switch on Currently Playing
Toggle “Identify music playing nearby” ON/OFF using the slider. (For music that isn’t in its database, you might also want to turn on the slider for “Display search button on lock screen”).
4. Attend to the database downloading.
Android will immediately download the song database to your phone after you enable the option. Give it some time; until this playlist is saved to your device, Currently Playing won’t work.
After the “Downloading music database” warning disappears, the database download is complete.
Use of Currently Playing
To use Now Playing, nothing needs to be done. Your device will automatically display its best guess—which is typically accurate—on the lock screen when it detects music.
And that’s all there is to turning on and using the Pixel Currently Playing feature, which makes it easier to identify unfamiliar songs by their names. Other alternatives, such as playing the song on YouTube, are also available by tapping the information that is displayed.
When music is playing nearby that it cannot recognize, if you have also enabled the lock screen search button, you will see a little circular icon of a musical note where the title and artist of a recognized track would normally appear. If it finds the track, it will provide you the same alternatives when you tap this to start a search.