You could already use Google’s search engine to play Pac-Man, translate people’s handwriting, and do a barrel roll. Now, it looks like you can use it to tune your instruments, too. Android Police was first to spot the new guitar-tuning functionality built into Google Search, which lets users pull up the tool just by typing “google tuner” into the search bar.
This isn’t the first time that the company’s tried to help folks out with tuning — in fact, Google Assistant’s offered a similar feature since 2017. But considering how ubiquitous Google Search has become, and how easy it is to just, well, search a phrase, this is going to open up the feature to pretty much anyone with a browser on any device and a working microphone.
This is also pretty fortuitous timing on Google’s part, considering how guitar-playing became a popular pastime during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a survey published earlier this week co-authored by the folks at Fender, roughly 16 million people have taken up the instrument over the past year.
And while I’m not one of them, I did give Google’s new tool a whirl by, uh, humming into my laptop’s microphone. And yep, it really is that easy: all you need to do is turn on your mic, and the search engine will helpfully tell you whether you should be tuning your instrument (or voice) up or down. So, hey, maybe it’s useful for vocal warmups, too!
Of course, how well this tool works for you depends on the microphone you’re using. Android Police reported using some devices like the Galaxy Z Fold 3 that wouldn’t pick up sounds unless they were loud, and played directly into the phone. Personally though, on my own device (a MacBook Air), I found that I was able to get good mileage out of the tool even when I was sitting a good foot away from the mic. Either way, this is a nifty tool that’s sure to make people’s fretting a bit easier.