Google is taking search up a notch with its latest version of Android, Jellybean. Last week at Google I/O, Google unveiled a number of search improvements with the OS. Three of these were specifically talked about during Google’s keynote: richer Knowledge Graph results, improved voice search and Google Now.
There’s another feature Google has added to the operating system that’s getting a bit of attention now that people have had a chance to play around with it. There’s a widget for Sound Search, which lets you search for songs by letting the device listen, and find the song in Google Play, where the user can than purchase if they would like.
Image credit: AndroidPolice
If this sounds familiar, it’s because it’s essentially what the hugely popular mobile app Shazam does. The app has been downloaded over 10 million times on Android alone. 232,374 of those people have given it a five-star review. Its average rating is 4.5 with 323,379 total reviews. People love shazam. Every time you hear a song and aren’t sure what it is, you have the ability to quickly find out, thanks to this kind of sound search.
Here’s a video (hat tip: Google Operating System) demo of Google’s new widget:
The way I see it, this is one example of what Google is likely to continue to do throughout its mobile search strategy, and perhaps its search strategy at large. It’s giving users less of a reason to use a non-Google service (in this case, Shazam).
The biggest threat to Google’s search market share may just be a decreased dependence on search in general. People are finding new ways to access information all the time, and mobile apps have been driving this more than anything. Shazam offered a service (and really a search service at that) that Google did not. Now Google does.
People didn’t have to go to Google to find out what the song they were hearing was. Before Shazam, they may have tried to figure it out using Google, and entering keywords with the hopes of trying to explain what they were hearing to retrieve the right result. Now, Google is once again letting users do this with Google, even if not from Google search itself. That’s not to say it won’t be integrated at some point.
It just so happens that Google may be able to drive some more sales through its Google Play store in the process, effectively killing two birds with one stone.
If you’re using the last version of Android, Ice Cream Sandwich, you may be in luck if you want to play around with Google’s Sound Search widget. The Verge points to a forum thread, showing that the feature has been hacked for the previous OS.