YouTube is testing hum to search for songs

25th August 2023
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YouTube announced earlier this week that a new test on Android devices will let users search for songs simply by humming the tune of the song.

Rolling out now to a “small percentage” of YouTube users on Android devices, this new search option for songs can identify a track based on three or more seconds of the user humming or playing a portion of the song. When the song is identified, YouTube says it will show content from the artist as well as user-generated videos and Shorts based on that track.

We’re experimenting with the ability for folks to search for a song on YouTube by humming or recording a song that’s currently being played. If you’re in the experiment, you can toggle from YouTube voice search to the new song search feature, and hum or record the song you’re searching for for 3+ seconds in order for the song to be identified. Once the song is identified, you’ll be sent to relevant official music content, user- generated videos, and/or Shorts featuring the searched song in the YouTube app.

That functionality might seem familiar to some, and indeed it should. Google Search has supported the ability to “hum to search” for songs since late 2020.

And, as it turns out, this YouTube test is based on the same technology. Google confirmed to TechCrunch that this is using the same underlying technology but that YouTube’s version is faster. “Hum to Search” in Google Assistant requires 15 seconds of audio, whereas YouTube only requires three or more.

It will certainly be interesting to see how the two compare and when YouTube will bring this to all users.

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