It looks like Apple’s acquisition of Shazam will soon go through, having been approved by European regulators. That will in turn spark more discussion of what the deal means for rivals: not just Apple Music’s rivals like Spotify, but Apple’s rivals like Google. As if by magic, there is news today on how Google’s own music-recognition technology is improving.

There are two technologies to know about, actually: Sound Search is Google’s ‘server-side’ music-recognition tech which can identify music via the Google Search app and Google Assistant voice-assistant, while Now Playing is the feature introduced last year on the Pixel 2 smartphone to identify songs playing around its owner, but run entirely on the device rather than tapping the cloud. Google says the latter worked so well, it’s now used some of the Now Playing tech to improve Sound Search. Google’s blog post goes in to the technical details, but the stated ambition – “making Google’s music recognition capabilities the best in the world” – is the thing to think about.

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