Spotify is testing a voice search feature that allows users to more quickly access their favorite artists, tracks, albums and playlists. The feature, which appears based on a 2017 experiment involving a "driving mode", has begun to appear within the iOS application for a small number of users. I obtained early access to the test and tested the feature set. In summary, it is an excellent step forward for navigation in the application that historically has required too many tapping and typing to get where it is going.
Spotify confirmed the test but did not want to talk about it. "We are always working to improve the Spotify experience for our users, but we do not have information to share at this time," the company said.
To access the new voice search feature, touch the magnifying glass icon in the center of the lower row of tabs. If you have it, you will see a microphone icon inside a white bubble in the lower right corner of the screen.
Touch and you will get a brief tour of the search function, which is currently only available in English. After giving Spotify access to your phone's microphone, you can touch the microphone icon and say your command. If Spotify understands, they will start playing the song, artist, album or playlist they want.
I spent the last hour spitting questions in the microphone, with almost accurate results. I queued the playlists of Gold School and Top Hits Today, radio stations of artists for Radiohead and Wilco, and the great varieties of "Despacito". Everything happened as fast as Siri does the same in a HomePod.
So far, voice control seems to be limited to the search for music within the vast Spotify catalog. Ask him "Who are the Beatles?" And it will simply start playing a Beatles playlist without telling you about the band. And I found some mistakes. I created a playlist for songs that I found on Spotify that I call "Spotifinds", and when I looked for it, the very confusing application asked me if maybe I was looking for "Spotify memes". (I am now!)
But I will take it. Apple has done everything possible to paralyze the Spotify experience on iOS, preventing the company from developing an integration with Siri or working natively with its HomePod smart speaker. In such a world, building voice control directly in the application was Spotify's best option. And although officially the function is still an experiment, the first version works well enough to make it a central part of my music.