Facebook app “hears” what you’re listening to

Facebook’s mobile app has been improved with a new sense oh hearing. The app recognizes music and TV shows playing in your vicinity and offers to include information about what’s playing in the background when you begin to write a post. The feature was designed to allow users to share more information about their surroundings, like what song they’re listening to or what TV show they’re watching. Thus, sharing more information about themselves than through an ordinary post. Aryeh Selekman, the product manager who led the development, said they wanted people to “tell better stories” and he really hopes “there are people who love the feature and post more”.

It took almost a year of engineering and logistics work until the feature reached perfection. Facebook made deals with 160 television stations in the U.S., so the app can recognize a live show within 15 seconds due to the microphone built into Android phones and iPhones. Facebook also made deals with music-streaming sites like Spotify and Radio. Users can play previews of songs that other users shared using the audio-recognition feature. The audio-recognition feature is kindred to Shazam, another app that can identify TV programs and music. When users begin to post, they will see an audio equalizer with waving blue bars indicating the app is attempting to match the sound it detected to a television show or to a song. When the app finds a match users will see the title and a thumbnail (an album cover or a photo showing a TV program). All they have to do now is tap on the song (or on the show) the app figured out they’re listening to and let the others know what they’re doing, how they feel, what song they’re listening to or what TV show they’re enjoying.

The feature is optional, so you can switch it on or off if you like. If your choice is to use the feature and share what TV show the app “heard” you watching, Facebook could gather enough data to start composing television ratings. As I’ve said before, you can choose if you want to share the info or not, but Facebook would still keep the data, in anonymous form so don’t worry, ¬†knowing how many users watched a particular show. If users post what they’re watching or listening to, it means they share more about themselves. It also means increasing the value of ads targeting, so well played Facebook!