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Google makes voice search easier for Android users

android-phone (Johan Larsson-Flickr)July 1, 2014

Google announced on June 26 that all mobile devices powered by Android will perform searches from Google’s search app or home screen with a mere “OK, Google” voice command.

For instance, if you are using Google’s search app on your Android device and want to check the weather in Los Angeles, just say, “OK, Google, what is the weather in Los Angeles?” and it will display the information you are seeking. Once you have what you need, just tap the back button to return to what you were doing.

Anywhere, anytime

You can use the “Ok, Google” command from anywhere, anytime.

The “Ok, Google” command will work from any screen if you set it up to do so. And it will work even if your mobile device is charging. The user can even use “Ok, Google” if lock screen is enabled.  It won’t work when the screen is turned off, however.

If you are not using Google’s search app or if you are using an app that doesn’t actively support the microphone, “Ok Google” will still work. It will give you the data you are looking for and allow you to perform other actions, such as:

  • Checking email
  • Placing a call
  • Setting an alarm

Not all Android phones will be able to use “Ok, Google” immediately, since Google is rolling it out on a phone by phone. Previously only Moto X Androids supported the “Ok, Google” feature.

To enable ‘Ok, Google’ for use with any screen. . .

If you have an Android device that runs KitKat and you have installed Google’s updated search app (version 3.5), click the Google Settings icon, then follow this path of links: Search & Now, Voice, “OK Google” Detection. Then check the box next to “From any screen.”

You can even train your device to better recognize your voice by turning on your audio history and repeating “Ok Google” three times. When the Google server starts to recognize your voice, it can further personalize your searches.

Experts predict that voice searching will eventually become the main method for users to interact with their Android devices.