Skip to Content

What’s that song? Hum or whistle it, and Google can tell you

It’s easy to find information on anything with a search engine at our fingertips, but some things are easier to look for than others. News topics, trivia and scientific data will usually populate the first page of your search results, but what if you want to look for a song?

If you want to look up a song or the artist behind it, knowing the melody won’t be enough. Usually, you’ll need lyrics or album information to get your search engine started — but some apps out there can actually name songs if they’re playing in the background. Tap or click here to see our favorite song lookup apps.

The Google app can also search for background music, but your phone needs to be within earshot in order for the feature to work. But now, Google has updated its app so you can search for music just by humming a melody. If you’ve got a song stuck in your head and don’t know the name, this feature might be just what you’re looking for.

Google gets better at listening

In a new blog post, Google revealed it has added a new “hum to search” feature to help people find songs you don’t know the names of. When you use “hum to search,” you don’t need to know any lyrics or artist names. You can even hum the track poorly and the search engine will usually find what you’re looking for.

Here’s how it works: Users hum, whistle or sing a melody the best they can for 15 seconds. Google then searches the web using an audio algorithm and lists the songs that match your recording the closest.

Tapping the song brings up the track, music video and even the lyrics for what you recorded. It’s a perfect tool for those annoying moments when you can’t get a song out of your head!

How can I make the most of this new search feature?

Besides getting annoying tracks out of your mind, the “hum to search” feature has another benefit: It can help you find tracks you hear in the background of your life.

Let’s say you’re going shopping and hear a tune you like on the radio. If you blink, you’ll miss the DJ announcing the name of the track, which means you need to jot down the lyrics or let it go. But if you use “hum to search,” all you need to do is sing what you remember and Google takes care of the rest.

Right now, the feature is available in the latest version of Android, as well as on the Google app for iOS. The feature is being rolled out to iOS users over the next few weeks, so if you don’t see it immediately, it might not have reached you yet.

To use it on iOS, open the Google app and tap the microphone icon. Then, ask “what song is this?” or “what song is playing?” Then, you can hum the tune or let it play in the background. That’s all it takes.

On Android, all you need to do is ask Google Assistant “Hey Google, what’s this song?” Then you can hum or play the track to get your answer.

Try it out. You will be surprised at how accurate it is. The algorithm was even able to guess a song with humming as lyrics.

Tap or click here to learn more about YouTube Music — another musical service from Google.

Komando Community background

Join the Komando Community

Get even more know-how in the Komando Community! Here, you can enjoy The Kim Komando Show on your schedule, read Kim's eBooks for free, ask your tech questions in the Forum — and so much more.

Try it for 30 days