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Facebook Launches Audio Recognition Feature

Facebook Launches Audio Recognition Feature

Innovative business owners should turn a keen ear to Facebook's latest integration of user friendliness and data collection. Facebook's latest feature involves audio recognition, makes it easier than ever to report what shows and music users are enjoying as it is happening.

How It Works

Now available for Facebook's mobile app, the new feature is similar to apps like SoundHound and Shazaam. It uses a phone's microphone to tune in on ambient noise, identify what the user is watching or listening to, and post the news to the user's news feed as part of the “Feelings” feature.

Audio recognition activates when users open their “Compose” menu to write a new post. Facebook will automatically listen in and fill in the "Listening to" or "Watching" fields under the Feelings tab. Privacy-oriented users can rest easy. The feature is opt-in only, and it is easy to turn off and on using a button on the “Compose” page. Anything the feature posts can be deleted.

What Can It Do?

According to Facebook product manager Aryeh Selekman, their audio recognition software can identify millions of songs and shows from over 160 stations. Facebook friends will be offered a 30-second preview of any shared song right in their news feed, eliminating the previous hassle of navigating away from Facebook to explore music. Live TV and sporting events can be identified as well.

A Possible Advertising Tool

While the feature does not save any recordings, it does store the data of what songs and shows its users prefer. It gives Facebook a solid map of its user's preferences. The data could be used as a powerful digital marketing tool in the future, tailoring ads to user preferences better than ever.

This is Facebook's second update to include advertiser-friendly data. In April 2014, the company added the "Nearby Friends" feature, allowing users to post their current location. Facebook says that the data is not used for monetary gain, but learning where its users spend their time could give the media giant ideas for new features.


Since its launch last April, Selekman reports, over 5-billion posts have incorporated some aspects of the website's “Feelings” feature. Simply tapping the smiley-face icon above their keyboard gives mobile users an easy way to share their feelings, atmosphere and preferences. Audio recognition will make sharing easier than ever.

Facebook has been working with a number of silent partners for a year to develop and fine-tune audio recognition. One of their biggest challenges was differentiating between commercials and television shows. Their solution was to search for repeating sound codes, a good audio marker for pinpointing commercials.

Sharing junkies and inquiring minds might have to wait to get their hands on the new tech. Audio recognition will be a slow roll out, according to Selekman, giving the company time to iron out flaws as they are discovered. Only time will tell if it is a hit or a bust.