How to find songs by sound with Google Now's sound search

google listen to music
Credit: Derek Walter

If you’ve used Google to identify a song with your phone, you’ve probably wondered how to find all those past discoveries. 

They’re saved for you, but you have to know where to look. It's a cool but lesser-known feature of Android: Google search can identify songs just like Songza or Soundhound.

Simply tap the search field or say “OK Google” (if you’re using the Google Now Launcher), just as you would to give a Google Now voice command. If music is playing around you, a music icon will pop up. Touch that and after a few moments Google will deliver up the song, album, and artist information, along with a link to the Play Store.

google music search

Google will find the song, artist, album, and link you to its page in the Play Store.

But if you want to track down your past findings you need to know where to look. Here’s how to find them on Android and the web.

On Android, you need a widget

To get this on your Android device you need to add the Sound Search widget to your home screen. In stock Android, you touch and hold the home screen, select the widgets section, and then swipe through the choices until you come to Sound Search. Then touch and hold to pick up the widget and drag it to an open space on the home screen.

android sound search widget

Drop the widget on to your home screen for quick access to sound search or your history.

Once you’ve done this, touch the clock icon to view the history of all your song searches. If you touch a song it will take you to its selection in the Play Store. Unfortunately it doesn’t give you the option to just listen in Play Music if you’re a subscriber. You’ll have to search for that song separately in the Play Music app.

sound search history android

Get the dates and songs from your search history with the Sound Search widget.

The search history can be cleaned out if you wish. Just touch and hold each song and touch the trash can to delete it.

Get your song history on the web

You can also get this list of past songs on the web. You have to go to this link, you'll find a list of all the songs Sound Search has found, saved as a playlist Google Play Music web app. You’ll need to be signed in to your account for them to show up.

sound search

Your song search history is stored in Google Play Music - as long as you go to the right link.

If you’re a Play Music subscriber, you have the full suite of options available to you here. You can add a song to your library, a different playlist, or buy it from the Play Store.

As you can see, Google hasn’t made it super straightforward to find your past song discoveries. Google needs to clean this up—the sound search playlist should be a standard option in Play Music. At least now you know where to find these so you don’t have to wonder who sings that awesome (or annoying) song you heard last week.

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