Shazam, a music identification service popular with smartphone owners, today issued a nice update to both its free and paid iPhone apps. For starters, Shazam version 5.5 integrates better with iOS 6 by invoking the standard system sheet when sharing tags to Facebook (really, what took so long?). More importantly, you can now record audio snippets offline for later matching, something I’ve been yearning for since the dawn of time.

Google+ sharing is also supported, as is searching by name, title, tag date or location. Last, but certainly not the least, the app’s fugly interface has been overhauled with larger artwork for music, TV ads, or shows, a prettier listening screen and generally nicer-looking interface that’s easy on the eyes and more in line with Apple’s iOS Human Interface Guidelines.

These features are in addition to September’s update (when Shazam raised $32 million in funding), which has brought out the interesting ability to tag any television show on any channel in the United States…

I love the new-look listening screen, with the blue Shazam dial that responds to the music around you.

What I really wanna see is some native love on iPads, the sooner the better.

From release notes:

○ all new Tagging screen that responds to the sounds around you
○ tagging without coverage? Shazam now matches automatically when you next have a connection
○ Search My Tags: scroll up to the top of the My Tags to search for artists, titles, tag dates and tag locations
○ Share tags on Google+
○ For VoiceOver users, Shazam now has a “magic tap”: start tagging immediately with a two-finger double-tap from anywhere in the app

Fixes and improvements
○ Pull to Refresh restored to Shazam Friends
○ Sharing Tags on Facebook now uses the iOS native sharing screen

Shazam, the London, UK-headquartered startup, was founded in 1999 by Chris Barton, Philip Inghelbrecht, Avery Wang and Dhiraj Mukherjee. The service is available both free and commercially on iOS, Android and a number of other computing platforms.

Like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, Shazam apps are easily found on many people’s home screens.

If you haven’t played with the program yet, you’re missing out a lot.

The app couldn’t be simpler.

You just hit the Listen button to record a snippet of whatever is playing around you. The program then uploads the sound file to the cloud for instant matching against a database of millions of commercial songs.

Moments later, the song’s and artists’s name appears in-app, with useful links to related music videos on YouTube, iTunes and more.

My workflow typically entails identifying songs on a whim – mostly when I’m out and about – and hitting the Send to Spotify button that instantly launches the Spotify app with matching results.

That’s how I do music these days.

I use to be a big spender on the iTunes music store, but not anymore.

Why buy individual songs when an album’s worth of iTunes music can buy unlimited access to the millions of songs on Spotify, right?