Facebook gets its Shazam on with new audio recognition feature

This song is so good, I have to post it now!

Since its inception, Facebook has slowly been putting together a digital identity from everything you like and do, down to your real-life movements. Now the social network has launched a new service that listens, too.

Facebook updated its iOS and Android apps with a new tool that can identify songs and television shows. Similar to Shazam, this new audio recognition feature will identify almost anything your listening to, making it easy to post in a status update.

Friends seeing any posted songs will be able click on your shared activity for a quick 30-second preview of the tune.

The feature also works with TV shows, including live TV and sporting events. Unlike songs, there won't be any embedded media in the News Feed, but you can discuss Game of Thrones spoilers with your friends.

The update is gradually coming to mobile apps over the coming weeks to app users in the US. Facebook has yet to release a timetable for when the update will arrive for all.

Say what

The new listening feature is off by default so the Facebook app won't ever listen in without the user knowing. Once users manually turn it on, the feature is one tap away with the smiley face icon on the status update window.

As a new part of Facebook's "Feelings" options, the feature is just another way for users to skip typing and make the News Feed a media rich experience.

See, hear, publish nothing

Facebook has a crummy privacy track record and history may be repeating itself again here.

Mashable alleged that the Facebook app listens in whenever users goes to the compose page, identifying songs or shows. Supposedly even if the user choses not to publish the information, it's still logged into Facebook's database.

Then there's the question of what else Facebook might be listening in on.

To help dissuade spying fears, the Facebook app prompts users with a message before turning on the listening tool that reads, "We can't identify background noise and conversation. Sounds are only used to find a match and are never stored."

Kevin Lee

Kevin Lee was a former computing reporter at TechRadar. Kevin is now the SEO Updates Editor at IGN based in New York. He handles all of the best of tech buying guides while also dipping his hand in the entertainment and games evergreen content. Kevin has over eight years of experience in the tech and games publications with previous bylines at Polygon, PC World, and more. Outside of work, Kevin is major movie buff of cult and bad films. He also regularly plays flight & space sim and racing games. IRL he's a fan of archery, axe throwing, and board games.