Before we even got our hands on the Pixel 2 and the Pixel 2 XL, the device’s always-listening music recognition feature was a pretty divisive new addition. We talked in detail about how this feature works in multiple articles since then. It’s typically something that gets immediately turned off or left on when someone sets up a new Pixel 2 device. For those of you on non-Google Pixel 2 devices that want to have this feature, the folks behind CypherOS have teased their version of the feature called “Ambient Play” which mimics the Now Playing feature of the Pixel 2.
This is actually something we should expect to see more custom ROMs pick up over the next year. Chris Crump of CypherOS got inspired to begin looking into this when developers from CarbonROM first ported the feature. While this feature did work in the CarbonROM custom ROM, it only worked on the Pixel 2 devices. So Chris began looking into a music application called Encore which has music recognition built into it. It turned out this was open source, so for the next 8 hours he stripped the music recognition code out of out the app.
‘Now Playing’ has been rewritten into their own service called Luna Ambient Services (which is a spin on Pixel Ambient Services). After its initial implementation, Chris was even able to get the feature working on both the ambient display as well as the lock screen.
It should be noted that this works differently than the Pixel 2’s Now Playing feature. It will pull the songs fingerprint from a third-party database and then compare it to the fingerprint it grabbed from the music that’s playing. Thus, it won’t receive database updates from Google.
Still, it’s great to see that developers are working to get these features on a wide range of devices. Both teams working on this feature have implemented them differently. They both come with positives and negatives depending on what side you’re on. We did want to point out that CarbonROM is still looking for experienced APK modders who can help in porting the original Now Playing feature to non-Google Pixel 2 devices, so leave a comment below if you’re interested!