Google Search update lets you activate Now from any screen

Google Search has been updated, adding the ability to activate Google Now from any screen or app on your device. This includes the lockscreen, which will now listen for your "Ok Google" command.

Always-on listening has been available to Moto X users because of the phone's always-listening chip, this is the first time that device-wide voice activation of Google Now will be available to Android at large. You can turn on the feature by going into Google Search's Voice settings area and selecting "Ok Google" Detection. From there, you'll be able to choose From any screen and, separately, From lock screen.

In addition to voice activation in any app, Google Search adds Audio History. This feature allows Google Search to learn the sound of your voice, making your searches more accurate. You can manage your Audio History, as well as turn it on and off, in the Google Search Voice settings.

The update is currently rolling out through the Google Play Store, so it might take some time before you see it. What do you think of these updates to Google Search? Tell us below in the comments.

 
There are 88 comments

rovex says:

It should be noted that even if you sideload the latest apk it still wont work, its being rolled out to each account in turn.

frozencloud says:

you need to go into the setting of the search app and turn on the setting for lockscreen and any screen. still need to wake up the phone before "ok google" feature works though. just flashed the apk from AP.

rovex says:

Nope. If your account hasn't had it activated the option isnt even there. This has been confirmed a number of times when it was originally reported by Android Police earlier in the day.

frozencloud says:

ahhh...my mistake

fuzzylumpkin says:

My device has the update available, but I'm waiting for the team black out version. Be interesting to see how that plays out.

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PAulyhoffman says:

Team Blackout hasn't updated an app since April

fuzzylumpkin says:

Check the beta apps, last update was today. Hangouts was updated a couple of days ago.

I don't know why their "stable" releases are so sparse though, especially since the betas usually work 100% or close to.

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mwara244 says:

I have it on my Nexus 7 2012, but not my GS3 on vzw. G Search and a bunch of apps updated for Nexus 7 and only 3 apps were available on the GS3 to be updated, guessing N7 is wifi and GS3 on verizon has something to do with it.

ozpain2 says:

Wait, what account needs to activate it? I'm trying to use it on my G2 and don't see the options for lock screen use, etc, either.

rovex says:

Its server side, Google needs to do it, nothing you can do but wait.

Aayush Jain1 says:

Voice command was working in India, until I installed play services 5+ and it stopped working.

gregs1213 says:

Someone on XDA says they are trying to modify the .bin file to make it available for everyone. http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=2795208

rovex says:

Yeah but it wont stay working whatever they do. all they are doing is allowing one use. Once used the server disables it again. It will work in a few days anyway.

stab244 says:

I got it through the play store and don't have the option. Weird.

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That's because you still don't have the updated version. Google is rolling it out in groups. You may not see the new version on your account for a couple days.

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stab244 says:

I have version 3.5.14.1234234.arm. So I'm pretty sure that's the latest. From the play store too.

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stab244 says:

Weird so I have it on my flo but not mako. Both on the same app version.

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I just loaded Android "L" on my Nexus 5, it allowed me to set up the hot word detection from any screen (three ok google(s)). However, it removed the option after I finished setting it up. Even if you have the new Android "L" you aren't getting the hotword detection unless the account has been given the all clear.

MarkSeven says:

Nice..

Posted via Android Central App on The Nexus 5

nblackst says:

Dope... i use the voice activation frequently but only from the home screen (as i use google now launcher on my note 3) but I've been waiting for the always active voice functionality for a while!!

Hghlndr says:

NBLACKST: you speak of using Google launcher on your Note 3. I have the same though it won't download to my phone from the play store. If you don't mind, Who's your carrier? Thanks

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frozencloud says:

is it just me or the sound when u activate google now is lower than before?

gregs1213 says:

They have changed the sounds. :)

Audemars02 says:

Do we know if there is a minimum Android version that is required for this?

enoch861 says:

Android 4.3+ (KitKat)

rgao007 says:

4.3 is Jelly Bean lol

Posted via my M9, X+1, N910, G906, D6653, G4, or G Pro 3

enoch861 says:

Hahaha, tell that to Google!
I simply copied and pasted from their help site:
https://support.google.com/websearch/answer/6031948?hl=en&ref_topic=6048425

Bwahahahaha says:

I'm curious why you would need to copy and past a few characters instead of just typing it... but hey, I wonder about weird things ;-)

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TenshiNo says:

He's right, though. That's exactly what their website says. I sense a "whoops". I wonder which one it really is?

Kim G says:

I think that he means 4.4.3?☺

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TomW093 says:

According to Droid Life, you'll also need the latest Google Play Services

TenshiNo says:

That would make a lot of sense.

I just forced it: https://plus.google.com/109448027074074035233/posts/dw4uAnQfxvZ

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rgao007 says:

Post not found

Posted via my M9, X+1, N910, G906, D6653, G4, or G Pro 3

Jordan Pt says:

You're post got deleted
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rjohnson94 says:

Do you need to be running the google now launcher or will this work with any launcher?

Dizfunctions says:

It says "your device" and not Nexus 5 so I'd assume it's for any device.

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rjohnson94 says:

Yeah, you never know though. I guess I'll find out when Search updates.

DWR_31 says:

As long as the devs of your launcher have enabled hotword detection in their launchers,this should work.

Posted from my "KNOX-FREE" 4.3 Sprint GS3 Maxx...!!!

The OK Google hotword doesn't seem to work at all on Xperia Z (4.4.2). Just installed Open Mic+ to try and regain the functionality, really good works from most apps/screens but slightly hit and miss in launching.

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kpf16 says:

Sorry so we just have to wait for this extra setting options to pop up at some point?

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gregs1213 says:

Yup. I've been waiting patiently since last night. Lol, I probably check every hour.

dlove1 says:

what's going to happen when i say OK google to my G watch? will both the phone and the watch beep?

I am assuming that when paired the watch will override the phone command. Or possibly you can choose in the settings of the companion app.

TenshiNo says:

A good question, but Joe's suggestion seems very likely.

anthonok says:

I've now had a YouTube video I was watching ON MY PHONE activate the search function

Try it lol

Moto 360 Hands-On: http://youtu.be/t4pI08GAr2Q

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3Dee says:

Don't tell me this is US only, v much looking forward to this!

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3Dee says:

Yep, this is from the Google Now help section in the app:

Availability

You can use “Ok Google” on any screen if you’re an English speaker in the United States.

Your device must have:

Google Search app version 3.5+
Android 4.3+ (KitKat)
Audio History setting turned on

Cries to himself in the corner...

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El Platanero says:

Nice blackberry

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jontalk says:

I have this version (updated this morning) and I don't see the Audio HIstory setting nor will OK Google launch either Voice Search or Google Search on my GS3 which is running 4.4.2.

TenshiNo says:

Several people have pointed out that, even with the new version of Now, you will have to wait for your device to get the newer version of the Play Services, and also for Google to toggle some kind of setting in your Google account. I'm sure that they're trying to roll it out in stages so that we don't bring down the server with everyone trying to play with it at once.

Add to the article that just receiving the update won't grant you the new feature. Android Police clarified that it's being rolled out to account names and not per app update. I have latest Play Services and updated search app and don't have the option to do this. AP shared that one of their writers had the features, rest of the team didn't. It is by user account.

cctpitts01 says:

Finally they have released the feature, but i have been using Nova Launcher for ever and they had this feature enabled for about a month now :)

rgao007 says:

Pretty sure sure they haven't...

Posted via my M9, X+1, N910, G906, D6653, G4, or G Pro 3

Audemars02 says:

Nova Launcher has had this, but required 4.4 or higher, i believe. The big question is if this will require 4.3 or 4.4. The help text says 4.3 (kitkat), but kitkat is really 4.4

dizzle16 says:

Nova launcher lets you use it on any homescreen even with the widget not on the screen. it wont work in other apps though. i have nova prime and it wont let you open say the AC app and say "ok google" and open google now. only works on any homescreen

sudbury78 says:

definitely not. Re-read the article and see what it says. :)

BW says:

I'm happy that everyone is getting this, but I plan on turning it off so that it doesn't ruin the battery life of my Moto X.

lonerdottie says:

It won't even work on your Moto X because your device already has the functionality built in.

Jordan Pt says:

Moto X has the feature built in, plus it has specialized hardware so that it will work all the time without eating the battery.

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JTIII says:

Does this work if your language is set to English (UK), or only English (US)? If the latter, does the new version look ANY different, so that I'd know when it's active for my account (so, I can change language, if I so choose)?

I don't think it works for UK English yet. My Nexus 4 received the Google Search update (3.5.15.1254529.arm) a few days ago, and this morning I found new options in the Settings menu of Google Search. Those options are the keys to showing that you've been upgraded.

From the Settings menu I can now enable Audio History, and the "OK Google Detection > From any screen" and "From lock screen" options have appeared – but with UK English they are greyed out, and a note says: "This feature is currently unavailable for this language".

I changed the phone's setting to US English and "OK Google" works fine, including from the lock screen.

Glenuendo says:

Yay for trollouts.

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Will this really work from the lockscreen? Even with pin protection? Seems like it could potentially be a security issue. For instance, I have my N4 encrypted and my company's security policy forces a lock every 15 minutes of idle time.

TenshiNo says:

I'm sure having a pin code will limit some features. You could potentially still ask stuff like "what's the temperature outside" and get a response without affecting security or privacy.

meyerweb says:

So what is the battery impact of having your phone listening all the time?

Andy, I suspect that if a security policy enforces the lock screen Google Now can still listen, but to view any results you'd still have to enter your PIN.

Jordan Pt says:

It only listens while the screen is on or the phone is plugged in, so battery drain is minimal.

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shaytoon21 says:

its funny bc im still trying to program google now to work without saying ok google now anymore but use ok google.

mgolder81 says:

I don't have to say 'ok google now'...... Just' ok google' works fine.

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meyerweb says:

+1

ELavar says:

+1

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TenshiNo says:

+1

shaytoon21 says:

wont let me retrain it if i dont say "now"

Mobilestash says:

I've been waiting a long time for this.

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phonejunky says:

This is a really good ad on. I've had this feature on my Moto X, and it comes in handy very often.

http://www.cnet.com/news/the-iphone-may-be-late-to-features-but-only-and...

This is awesome. This is why I love google now over sir I or any other voice control you can now use it anywhere and has even more finctionality . I never use it sometimes only cause I ha e to hold the home button and what not on my galaxy mega but this helps a lot.

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El Platanero says:

Well I'm excited. I've been wanting this.

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CJ Deaton says:

It's about time. As much as I love my GS5 I really don't like S Voice. I'm just wondering how this will effect battery life?
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Galaxy S5

dadathepanda says:

S voice was the first thing I disabled after getting the S5

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awilisch says:

Does this work even of you're screen is off or do you have to turn the screen on first?

Not setting it yet.

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Dantuma says:

It works with the screen off, but only while charging...

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Denny Negro says:

Serious privacy concerns with this development as this would mean collection all audio from a phone owner's surrounding.

anthonok says:

I was just watching this video from TechnoBuffalo.

Moto 360 Hands-On: http://youtu.be/t4pI08GAr2Q

And when he says "OK google" the video stopped and my phone started listening for the command.

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Wicket says:

this is one of my favorite things from the last 2 days!

Not seen it as a option yet. North LA

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szparaj says:

Still nothing here. Buffalo NY

jec11718 says:

Not here yet either... Fla, Nexus 7..2012, and Droid DNA vzw. Both just got updates from Play store.

sent from my Nos M7 DNA

mysticaly4u says:

just received the update for my M8, but okay google still not working, from any screen, waiting on the update for play services to see if it does the trick