You're listening all the time, whether you realize it or not. And Shazam has come up with a way to makes sense (and money) of the sounds you might miss.
The company has released a new version of its already incredibly successful iPhone app to about 500 million customers around the world. It brings the ability to background listen to certain types of sounds, including music, TV shows, and ad spots, and then automatically identify what the phone's owner is listening to. The new Auto Shazam feature works even if the phone is locked or another app is being used, and it keeps a list of the things it's identified so you could keep track of the songs you heard on the radio during your morning commute, and so on.
Shazam has enabled an auto-listening feature on the iPad version of its app for some time, but it's taken until now with iOS 7's developments for the company to bring the system to the iPhone. In the company's press release the chief product officer explains that "The one thing we have with us all day, every day, is our phone." The question that this new service begs, of course, is what magic Shazam will reveal when it's able to identify more than music but all of the sound in our world.
The new service taps into the trend of devices that listen to your life all the time, such as Microsoft's Xbox One or Moto X and its "OK, Google Now" feature. In Shazam's case it delivers up useful info to the user, because who hasn't wanted to look up that ear worm track you heard playing in the coffee shop in the morning, later in the day? But the inclusion of Shazam's advert-listening tech, which will ID Screenvision adverts shown in some movie theaters, also shows that this discovery tool is about making money right from the get-go.
Sensitive to the issues of user privacy, though, Shazam is making the automatic ID service an opt-in system, and you have to deliberately enable it inside the app and it has a countdown before it disables itself.