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Now Playing

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Now Playing on Pixels may soon show location and activity history

One of those subtle Android features that Google makes exclusive to Pixel devices is "Now Playing." Introduced with the Pixel 2, it scans for music in the background and shows you what song is playing on the Ambient Display. According to our friends at XDA, location and activity tracking may be coming to Now Playing's history menu soon.

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[Update: Rolling out] Spotify makes your song queue more accessible with new Now Playing UI

Several months ago, Spotify began testing a new Now Playing interface that left us scratching our heads. It removed both the replay and queue buttons from the main UI and hid them under the secondary menu. Of course that was not a smart move, and Spotify is now rolling out (server-side) another take on that redesign, but with more sensible decisions. And I like it.

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Now Playing History arrives on Pixel 2 and 2 XL

One of the coolest little features that came with the Pixel 2 was Now Playing, which would listen out for any music that was playing around you and try to identify it. It's basically an always-on Shazam that shows you the track names on the lockscreen.

There's always been one major drawback, though — if you're not looking at your phone while the song is playing, you'll miss out. Until the launch of the Pixel 3, there was no such thing as a list of all the songs previously identified. Thankfully, there is now, and it's starting to appear on Pixel 2 and 2 XL devices as promised.

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The Pixel 3's Now Playing History is coming to Pixel 2 'soon'

The Pixel 2 and Pixel 3 both have a feature called Now Playing that automatically identifies music playing from nearby sources. It's a neat trick that's currently significantly better on the Pixel 3, which provides a history of identified songs. That functionality gap will be closing in the near future, though, when Now Playing History makes its way to the Pixel 2.

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Pixel 3 and 3 XL's Now Playing recognized songs will have a history log

The Pixel 2 and 2 XL brought a new Ambient Display feature that automatically recognizes nearby playing music and displays the song's title and artist without you having to launch Shazam or any other music ID app. The third-generation Pixels will up the ante with a log of all the identified songs.

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Some apps like Words With Friends 2 can break the Pixel 2's 'Now Playing' music recognition

The Pixel 2 has been in and out of the news here for issues both major and minor, and today we have a somewhat humorous one. Apparently, it is possible for installed apps, like Words With Friends 2, to interfere with the "Now Playing" music recognition feature. Google is aware of the issue, though, and thankfully it's not that big a problem. 

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Add history to the Pixel 2 'Now Playing' song identification feature with this app

Just before Google's Pixel 2 launch event, we learned of a great new always-on feature that listens for music and displays the song name and artist on the lock screen without even being asked to do so. Now Playing even works without an internet connection, as it keeps a local file containing identification data for nearly 20,000 songs. It won't be able to name everything you hear out and about, but anything vaguely popular should be picked up.

What if you hear a song you like, but you aren't able to look at your phone before it's finished and a new song is playing?

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