Pixel’s Now Playing feature could get its first big revamp since launch

Pixel’s Now Playing feature could get its first big revamp since launch

The Now Playing feature on Google Pixel devices might receive a much-needed revamp soon. Google is reportedly working on giving it a design overhaul and a couple of new features.

For the unaware, Google introduced the Now Playing feature with the Pixel 2 series back in 2017. Since its launch, it hasn’t changed all that much. Its UI looks pretty much the same as it did back then, and it offers almost the same capabilities. The only noteworthy change for the Now Playing feature in the last four years rolled out with the December 2020 Pixel Feature Drop last year, which added the ability to export multiple songs from the Now Playing list into a playlist on YouTube Music.

However, a teardown of the Android System Intelligence APK (version S.6) suggests that Google is finally working on some significant improvements for the Now Playing feature. 9to5Google reports that the teardown has revealed new strings pointing towards a major UI redesign. The publication notes that Google is planning a new three-tab interface for the Now Playing feature that will give users easy access to “History,” “Favorites,” and “Summary” in the bottom bar. While the “History” and “Favorites” tabs are pretty self-explanatory, we’re not sure what the feature will display in the “Summary” tab.

<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>

The update will also introduce a “Now Playing Search” feature that will let users send Google a “short, digital audio fingerprint to identify what’s playing” if the feature cannot detect the song right away. In addition, the teardown includes the following string that highlights the “privacy-preserving analytics” used by the feature:

<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>

Note that the changes mentioned above are not live in the latest Android System Intelligence update. Google might roll them out with the Android 12 release for Pixel devices.

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Pranob Mehrotra
Pranob Mehrotra

A Literature and Linguistics graduate with a keen interest in everything Android. When not writing about tech, Pranob spends most of his time either playing League of Legends or lurking on Reddit.