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How to: Use Jelly Bean’s Sound Search [Beginners’ Guide]

With the release of the Jelly Bean operating system, it brought many new features for Android users to take advantage of. One of new features is called Sound Search. Sound Search can be directly compared to other applications like Shazam and SoundHound, the main difference being that Google’s Sound Search utilizes their own servers to recognize the music and then direct you to Google Play to purchase the song.

Google created a Sound Search widget that you can easily place on any homescreen for you to find out what that certain song is. Let’s go ahead and set it up. 

First, you will need to place the widget on a homescreen. To do this, follow these directions.

Setting up the widget:

1.  Open the app drawer. In the top left you will see two sections. One for “Apps” and one for “Widgets.”
2.  Hit “Widgets.”
3.  Scroll to the right until you find Google’s Sound Search widget.
4.  Long press on the widget to place it on a homescreen.

You have now successfully enabled the Sound Search widget.

Using Sound Search:

Using Sound Search is just as easy as setting it up. Follow these directions to use Sound Search properly.

1.  While the song is being played, tap on the Sound Search widget.
2.  Place your device close to the speaker to make sure the device can hear the song/audio being played.
3.  After a few seconds, if the song is recognized by Google, album art and the song’s title will be displayed.
4.  Along with this information is a price for the song on Google Play, followed by a refresh button for you to identify a new song.
5.  To purchase the song, click on the price tag and you will be directed to Google Play to buy the song or the entire album.

*Android Beginners Guide is a way for people new to Android to get to learn how Android works. We will be posting many tips and tricks on how to optimize your usage of the Android operating system.

  • Is there another way to access this feature? I don’t want to add that bigass widget for something I’ll use so infrequently.

  • synplex

    WTF!? I clicked the widget and my Dog die =-/
    …screw you google.

  • Mexigreek

    Is there a way to check history of songs searched using “Sound search”?

  • Jwhap

    I have used this a few times…once I even wanted to purchase a song. Not once has it pulled a result for me. Sound hound found them all. Though I have not attempted more mainstream music

  • Keenan Singh

    Why are there still trolls!? Let this serve as a guide for new users, Jelly Bean or not, other articles they make are helpful to new users. If you don’t like this, then why even click on it, is it that hard to continue scrolling!? Some people need this help, we all started out like this, learning the how to’s of android with our first android, right?

  • LordStickMax

    Is this missing from the stock Xoom build of jelly bean? I can’t find it.

  • Saif

    suggest having a guide in how to have a custom ringtone or notification without a third party app! I don’t know why but i always use Root Explorer to move a tone to the system files!

  • tech247

    Not again…..

  • Sqube

    Will this remember previous queries like Soundhound or Shazam?

  • Now that we have Droid-Life giving us Android support and training, why is Verizon still charging the upgrade fee for the same thing.

  • Instructions not clear enough. Dick caught in ceiling fan.

  • Aaa

    How many people out of the .4% of Android users that have JB need a Beginner’s guide?

    • bitpimpin

      seriously… and if you’ve even got JB on ur phone, chances are u dont need a beginner’s guide to android (n7 users aside)

      • michael arazan

        this is the only feature i have from JB on my 4,0,4 phone. I tried using it 5 times and only 1 time it worked. There is a song on the porsche boxster “eclipse” commercial that i’ve been trying to find the name or group for the song. It sounds like daft punk, but its not on any of the music sites, or ad music sites.

  • nsnsmj

    Could someone direct me to where I can find those icons?

    • Tersus by Kovdev

      • nsnsmj

        Thank you, kind sir.

  • I’m not sure I could ever be pulled away from Soundhound. All I have to do is long press my search button, it identifies the song and I can pull it up in Spotify Premium (assuming they have it).

  • Soundhound is infinitely better than Google’s app (so far)

  • What launcher and icon theme are you using Tim?

  • on the next installment of beginners guide… how to push a button.

  • Kyle Miller

    No need to use this. I already know every song. EVERY!

  • Diablo81588

    Sucks compared to sound hound. Only seems to detect music that’s available in the play store.

    • Kyle Miller

      Hmm…I wonder why?

      • It wouldn’t have to do with this quote from the article would it ?
        “the main difference being that Google’s Sound Search utilizes their own servers to recognize the music and then direct you to Google Play to purchase the song.”

    • For the record, it does detect songs that aren’t available for purchase on Play, but they do still have a way to go as far as recognizing as wide a variety of songs as Soundhound or even Shazam.

  • brkshr

    Excellent song to search for!

  • JDub

    Those icons in your hotseat are horrible. Looks like blur and ios had icon babies together.

    • Hah! Have’t heard that way of describing them before. “A” for effort!

    • ProfessAndObey

      I’m not going to say anything bad about the icons themselves, but I would suggest that for these posts, you use fully stock (icons, launcher, theme, etc.) screenshots. I’m glad you guys are doing this series to help newbies get adjusted to Android, as there are some people that would really need it (not due to any faults in Android’s UX). However, those same people who would need this series are the same people who would get hung up over trivial details like different icons. Also, considering the nature of this guide, I recommend a picture for every step.

      • Which fully stock are you referring to? Blur stock, Sense stock, Touchwiz stock? Icons differentiate by device, thanks to OEM skins. For now, we have now idea how JB will be affected. But since ICS was plagued with this affliction, I imagine JB will be too.

        • ProfessAndObey

          Good point. However, I got the vibe that these posts are primarily due to all the newbies to Android, buying that new $200 tablet that is cooler than the Kindle Fire. I figure it would be best to focus on the current best selling Android device, especially since no newbie is going to have any other device featuring “What’s This Song?”

          BTW, I love the icons and don’t got anything against them. I just imagine showing this post to a friend or family member and then they get hung up on why the buttons look different. But you’re right, all the different Android skins out there present a big hurdle to helping others get adjusted.

          Perhaps, the only thing this series needs to have is this comic:

    • feztheforeigner

      I like them, well…except for the app drawer icon…

      Other than that, I think they look original and I like that =)

  • I’ve used this many times and its nowhere near as useful as SoundHound. Google still has long way to go to catch up.

  • Muddy B00ts

    I must have missed a step, somehow I’m naked?

  • bakdroid

    Unless you have the Xoom because for whatever reason they cut this feature out. But if you install the .apk it works great.

  • madduffy

    Thanks! I didn’t know about this feature.