Spotify is feeling out a new voice search feature.
The feature, which lets you quickly access favourite artists, tracks, albums, and playlists, is appearing inside the service's iOS app for some users. A few news sites have also been given early access to it, and they describe it as a much-welcomed means of navigation in the app. Spotify isn't sharing any information about it, however, which seems to add fuel to the rumours about it developing a smart speaker.
Talk of a Spotify-branded smart speaker has been going around for a few months, thanks to recent job adverts that surfaced for a number of hardware roles. While none of the adverts revealed exactly what hardware products Spotify is planning, the logical assumption would be a smart speaker of some kind, given the rise in popularity of them and Spotify's presence across the smart speakers already available.
Now, with this new voice search feature in the Spotify iOS app, it's clear that Spotify has suddenly become interested in voice control, which happens to be a key feature in most smart speakers. To try the new feature, tap the magnifying glass icon at the center of the bottom row of tabs. If you've been granted access, you’ll see a microphone icon inside a white bubble in the lower corner of the screen. Tap it.
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You’ll then get a tutorial of the voice search feature, which is currently available in English in the US. You'll then have to approve permissions to your phone’s microphone, and finally, at that point, you can tap the new mic icon and start barking your commands to Spotify. If you ask it, “Who is Paul McCartney?", Spotify won't answer you. But it will start playing a Paul McCartney playlist, so that's cool. We guess.
This is obviously an early-stage experiment, and there's no confirmation as to what it may lead to, but it's fun and exciting nonetheless.