The Pixel’s Now Playing feature is powered by Android System Intelligence (previously called Device Personal Services). An update for Pixel phones running Android 12 will introduce an interface redesign for Now Playing, as well as the ability to send unrecognized songs to the cloud.
About APK Insight: In this “APK Insight” post, we’ve decompiled the latest version of an application that Google uploaded to the Play Store. When we decompile these files (called APKs, in the case of Android apps), we’re able to see various lines of code within that hint at possible future features. Keep in mind that Google may or may not ever ship these features, and our interpretation of what they are may be imperfect. We’ll try to enable those that are closer to being finished, however, to show you how they’ll look in case that they do ship. With that in mind, read on.
Now Playing works entirely on-device to recognize music that’s playing around you. It operates ambiently in the background and displays results at the bottom of your lockscreen/AOD, as well as a silent notification.
Version S.6 of Android System Intelligence on the Pixel 5 points to an upcoming Now Playing redesign that adds a three-tab interface. A “History” view will be joined by “Favorites” and “Summary” in the bottom bar.
We’re not certain what the latter tab does, but the upcoming ability to favorite is useful for bookmarking and a more elegant solution than scrolling through the reverse-chronological timeline or search.
<string name=”bottom_nav_favorites_content_description”>Favorites tab</string>
<string name=”bottom_nav_history_content_description”>History tab</string>
<string name=”bottom_nav_summary_content_description”>Summary tab</string>
Current Now Playing UI
Meanwhile, this UI redesign also introduces “Now Playing search.” If the song you’re looking for is not in the local database, you’ll be presented with a search icon that can be added to the lockscreen. Tapping will send Google a “short, digital audio fingerprint to identify what’s playing.”
The company touts the use of “privacy-preserving analytics,” with this capability entirely optional and only kicking in when manually activated. Now Playing search will work in conjunction with and require the latest Google app, which already offers more advanced hum-to-search.
<string name=”ondemand_settings_dialog_title”>How Now Playing search works</string>
<string name=”shield_privacy_summary_cloudsearch”>”Now Playing recognises music using a song database stored on your phone. To protect your privacy, the automatic recognition process never sends audio or background conversations to Google. Now Playing uses privacy-preserving analytics.\n\nIf you turn on \u201cShow search button on lock screen\u201d, each time you tap to search Google receives a short, digital audio fingerprint to identify what\u2019s playing.”</string>
The latest ASI version is not yet widely available today, but it will presumably coincide with the public launch of Android 12. Now Playing has not seen a major update in quite some time.
Thanks to JEB Decompiler, from which some APK Insight teardowns benefit.
Dylan Roussel and Kyle Bradshaw contributed to this article
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