Google Search update enables direct-to-camera voice actions

OK Google, take a photo

Google has rolled out a back-end update for Google Search that enables you to start up the camera using voice actions. Fire up Google Search by saying "OK Google" from the homescreen of your Nexus 5, or from the Google Now interface on other KitKat phones, and tell it to start the camera.

To take stills, you can say "take a photo" or "take a picture." "Capture a photo" and 'capture a picture' work as well, if you want to be all fancy and technical. To take video, you simply say "take a video."

This seems to be working on all KitKat phones, in both the states and in the U.K. You'll need to open Google Now on your Moto X and bypass Motorola's own voice actions, but it works on the Moto X as well.

Edit — we've confirmed that it also works with Jelly Bean devices.

As mentioned, this is all done server-side so you'll not need to wait for an app update. Now you're ready for our upcoming photo contest, without having to tap any icons at all.

Source: +Google

Jerry Hildenbrand
Senior Editor — Google Ecosystem

Jerry is an amateur woodworker and struggling shade tree mechanic. There's nothing he can't take apart, but many things he can't reassemble. You'll find him writing and speaking his loud opinion on Android Central and occasionally on Twitter.

  • Very Nice Indeed.
    Works Great On My G-Pad 8.3 Running The Mahdi-ROM..
  • You obviously didn't read the article. This doesn't even take a picture. This is beyond useless.
  • Doesn't actually take a pic, lol. Just launches the app. Via my LG Nexus 5...
  • Maybe that will come with the next update. I really want to say "Okay Google" followed by "Oh, Snap!" To take a picture. :-)
  • Sounds like a gimmick.
  • Doesn't sound like is one. the big print giveth, the small print taketh
  • Yeah, it should be taking a picture right away! Clueless fucks sometimes I think the Android team is.
  • I'm sure it has nothing to do with an OS limitation or anything like that, I see one clueless fuck here and it isn't the Android engineers. Posted via Android Central App
  • +1 Posted via Android Central App
  • +1
  • If the Google Team is clueless, why don't you go get a job there and make it so...
  • I would gladly work on their team for quality but it's not only up to me :-) Case in point: They just released another updated version of the voice search action on the backend and this time it opens the camera app instead of just showing a shortcut to the camera. Someone clearly grew brains in the past 4 hours. For the fellows that have short-term memory here: It took two iterations for the Android team to fix the notification pane shortcuts before making them into actionable switches through long-press. Y'all forget that? Heck, they had CyanogenMod's example staring them right in the face for months and yet they fucked it up the first time.
  • now work on the camera working and I would be happy but having Ok Google open but not being able to get the camera to take pictures with voice control which is something the phone was able to do on its own is not impressive to me.
  • It's working on my Samsung Galaxy S4 with Jelly Bean also.
  • Yeah i thought it was something u could say take a picture and it would open the app and snap a photo of you and your group hands free
  • I double tap my screen and it does the same thing. I guess it could be useful for people without a launcher that uses gestures.
  • I wish I could say "Take a selfie" and have it open the FFC. Now THAT would be cool.
  • well, the command is working, it's just not opening the FFC.
  • Ok Google open the door..... (come on you know its comming)
  • This is coming they show it on the video for Android wear. The girl opens her garage door with it.
  • It's easier to open the app. Pointless.... the big print giveth, the small print taketh
  • This is a feature for the lazy. Posted via Android Central App
  • Huh? It literally takes more effort to do it this way than tapping on an icon or with a quick gesture like on the Moto X. It isn't even completely hands-free. It's a half-baked feature. Posted via Android Central App
  • didn't get it to open to take a video - just a photo
  • "Unfortunately, the camera has stopped."
  • It just opened the camera app on my Note 3. Nothing else.
  • On my phone? Useless. On a watch? ... If only I had some reason to believe they were working on something like that!
  • It only shows certain employees at Google probably have too much time on their hands to come up with something this unnecessary.
  • This could save me literally fives of seconds a year.
  • And being all Server Side, means it can be slow as hell when in remote areas.
    Also, at least on my phone, I get a fairly quick reply of "Opening App" and then it sits there..... and sits, and long after the fire is out, it pops up the camera, but still no photo is taken till you actually tap the shutter. So keep your camera button handy.
  • The weird thing is that this doesn't have to be server-side. Google already demonstrated that their voice recognition engine can function completely offline. The camera doesn't need Internet connectivity, so this design choice is a real head-scratcher. Posted via Android Central App
  • I said "take a photo", and my nexus 5 searched for "naked photo"
  • It must have recognized "naked photo" from previous searches. Mike
  • lol
  • As someone else mentioned this is useless but I can see this working well with wear. Mike
  • When are Google going to bring back the ability to do image and barcode searches from the camera in Google Now? It used to be there in the early days and was accessed by voice commands, but they removed it with a voice search update. Posted via Android Central App
  • I don't understand? This is/was already a feature. You can open any app by saying open Netflix, or open gallery... Wth -Nexus 10-
  • Yeah I said open chrome and it opens the browser. Not something I would use on a daily basis, but I could see it being useful in some aspects. Posted via Android Central App
  • All this does is open the camera app. Try 'open app'. Posted via Android Central App
  • I'm pretty sure it's quicker to just open the camera app Posted via Android Central App using galaxy s4
  • I'm pretty sure you're right.
  • Not really . i.e. you are driving and your phone is placed in the - windshield mounted - cradle (like mine :)) Posted via Android Central App
    VZW Moto X
  • So you now have the camera app open. You can't position it or take a photo as you're driving. Posted via Android Central App
  • Tap anywhere on screen once and you are done - either for photo or video. Much better - Steady shot - than in hand. Posted via Android Central App
    VZW Moto X
  • Another plus for Samsung (and I am sure others but I am not positive) you can use this to open the app and voice controls to take the picture from within the camera app. -------------------------------------------
    You really should see the crap I don't post. Sorry if honesty offends you
  • Exactly. That's what I just wanted to say. Posted via Android Central App
    VZW Moto X
  • I can do that with the Note II and S-Voice.
  • Awesome !
    Truckers approve this update :))
    Posted via Android Central App
    VZW Moto X
  • Wow. This is pretty silly.
  • Wow Jerry...
    What's wrong with these Bitter People..
    You try to inform them of something and they find a reason to BITCH.. Unbelievable.
    And very, very sad their lives are such that complaining on the net makes them feel like a big shot.
  • Well, that's the android community for you.
  • Having voice commands like "snap" or "cheese" would be great once the app launches. I got to liking glass taking the picture instantly, but the delay in even presenting the pic means it is probably slower than just the normal way.
  • I dont see this getting a lot of use.
  • cool ! ........guys flappy bird is returning on Play Store .....confirmed sources....
  • Ok google has its ups and downs it caused my stock note 3 voice control for camera to stop working and I took it in to sprint and they reset my phone but as soon as i turn on ok google to it stops working so if you want to take pictures by voice commands do not enable ok google they will not play nice together unless someone has found out something different this is what I found out yesterday and have tested it today and they will not work together and ok google will not work on my note 3 to take pictures by voice commands