It looks like Google isn't done adding goodies to the latest round of updates for the official Search app. The hotword for activating the voice search function is now "Ok Google," and it also works while looking at results, not just from the standard search screen. You'll need Search 2.8.7 (grab the APK here if you don't have it yet) and an updated English (US) language pack to see the new functionality.

wm_2013-09-27 12.55.50 wm_2013-09-27 12.56.16 wm_2013-09-27 12.55.58

We spotted the hotword-from-results feature in a teardown of a previous Search APK. Using the feature is pretty simple. Do a standard voice or keyboard search, then say "Ok Google" from the results page to begin a new voice search. The phrase "Ok Google" was probably chosen to lower false positives, as it requires a little more intent that the Google name itself.

How do I enable it?

Here's how to enable this silent update: first, make sure you're on the 2.8.7 version of the search app (download it from here if you don't have it already). Go to Settings -> Voice -> Language -> Offline Speech Recognition, then download the language pack update. Afterwards, the hotword in the main Search page should be changed to "Ok Google," and the hotword will be enabled while in search results as well. You may need to force close and reopen Google Search in order for the new hotword recognition to kick in.

Note #1: The new feature (not just the APK) is either rolled out in stages or won't work for some devices at all - it's too early to tell. For example, the updated language pack was available on our 2012 and 2013 Nexus 7s, Nexus 4, and Galaxy Nexus, but on the Note 2, it continued to say "pre-installed" and didn't see any language pack updates no matter what we tried. Your mileage may vary.

Note #2: The hotword feature only works for English (US).

wm_Screenshot_2013-09-27-10-38-23 wm_Screenshot_2013-09-27-10-46-04

Customizable hotwords?

There's no sign of being able to customize the hotword yet - we were able to change the hotword prompt itself to say "Computer" instead of "Ok Google" by modifying hotword_prompt.txt in the language pack but, unfortunately, all that changed was the displayed text and not the voice command itself.

There are several files with all kinds of voice models and configs related to hotwords, as you can see below, so at this point, it's up to Google to introduce the ability to train Search to respond to a custom hotword. For all we know, they may never actually do this, but we have a feeling the Android community may be up to the task. Wink, wink.

wm_Screenshot_2013-09-27-11-01-41 wm_Screenshot_2013-09-27-11-03-59

Thanks, Nicholas McDonald!

Jeremiah Rice
Jeremiah is a US-based blogger who bought a Nexus One the day it came out and never looked back. In his spare time he watches Star Trek, cooks eggs, and completely fails to write novels.
  • Zach Bonjour
    • Simon Belmont

      Transparent aluminum, for the win. They need to develop that stuff for real.

      Also, I love this scene. I always smile when I see it.

      • Kenny O

        "How do we know he didn't invent the thing?"

    • NoBullet

      Why the hell is that a gif.

  • brkshr

    It was already enabled when I checked Google Now on my N4 & N713.

    Personally, I don't like having to say "ok, google". I liked saying just 'google'

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Yeah, they started rolling out the APK update on Wednesday, but since the auto-update of language packs doesn't kick in right away, it took a day or two for it to happen and for someone to notice. It all makes too much sense.

      Nice ninja update there, Google.

      • josh c

        Mine still detects when I say just "Google" even though language pack is updated and so is the prompt text. What gives?

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

          Have you force closed and restarted Search?

          • josh c

            Touché, I should have known that. Thanks!

    • Ryan Stewart

      I think its going to have a net benefit in that it would be less likely to be accidentally called. Its happened a few times where I was checking a score or looking at a map card and someone says Google or something similar enough and it pops up and starts recording.

      • brkshr

        Good point. I think I'll be happier when I can make my own hot word.

        • Matthew Fry

          'Operator,' connect me to Benjamin.

    • Matthew Fry

      I say it as a preparation to saying Google so it seems pretty natural to me. 'Ok.... Google when does x close?'

  • exxe

    And no support for 4.0 and lower... Even iOS has it... C'mon Google!

    • Sir HOLO

      >Not using Jellybean
      Join the Nexus master race, pleb. #HOLOYOLO

      • lljktechnogeek

        What the fuck does HOLOYOLO even mean and why should I not stab anyone who says it.

        • Televise

          Fuck outta 'ere iShill.

          • lljktechnogeek

            So my choice is "buy overpriced white shit" or "be associated with people who think YOLO is something worth referencing"?

            Where's a suicide hotline when you need one?

          • Brendan

            HOLOYOLO is a term for people who live by the Stock Google Android experience, most commonly found on the Google Nexus devices. And for the record, a Nexus 4 (top tier Nexus phone until the new one in 1-2 months) was only about $199 UNLOCKED until they sold out without a restock a few weeks ago in preparation for the Nexus 5 in a few months.

            You can find more info on reddit.com/r/androidcirclejerk (although, as the name says, it's a circlejerk subreddit, but I understood it within 5 minutes, so it shouldn't be too difficult to get the idea.

          • lljktechnogeek

            I was referring to Apple products by "overpriced white shit" there, so I'm not sure why you brought up the price of the Nexus 4.

            That said, you have yet to answer "why should I not stab anyone who says It".

          • Brendan

            I thought you thought the Nexus 4 was expensive, whoops!

            As to why you shouldn't stab anyone who says it, it's because in most cases is used in a joking/sarcastic manner. Nothing too serious. Most cases, people are just too lazy to answer your question so instead of saying "Get a Google phone" they just say HOLOYOLO as if you know what it is. It's kind of stupid, but fun once you understand it.

          • lljktechnogeek

            So it's an ironic appropriation of a terrible acronym that is being used unironically by the people it was meant to mock.

            I guess that answers my "why should I not stab those who use the term" question. I can inflict no punishment that they have not already done to themselves.

          • Rafael Soriano

            Ah quit yer bitchin'

          • holo_in_your_hole_o

            Let me guess, you were voted "most likely to die a virgin"?
            Living up to that title there guy.
            That holo-imalonelynerd-tryingtobe-partofsomethingcool-yolo crap is so lame. Not hating on you personally but when people take their phones so serious that their UI becomes something that gives them a nerd boner then like the guy said.. kill yourself.

  • Mayoo

    The day we can do our own hot words, I map "Computer, set a course for [CityName]" to activate navigation. Confirmation will be "Engage".

  • Zargh

    Now all they need to do for consistency is to kill off the Moto X's "OK Google Now" and replace it with "OK Moto X". That will drop it down two universal Google Voice Search hotwords, "OK [Device]" for hands free (OK Glass, OK Moto X) and "OK Google" for when the Google app is explicitly open.

    "OK Google Now" makes no sense if the Search team isn't going to follow suit and start referring to Google Now as the entire app. They're still sticking to the original story of Google Now and Voice Search being two parts that make up Google, the assistant.

    • Kenton Douglas

      Correct. But, the answer is the fact that the Droids share the same technology as the Moto X. Although, I suppose you could have "OK Droid"?

      • usaff22

        Or OK, Moto

        • Enes Taşdemir

          Or OK Verizon Motorola Droid.

        • Kenton Douglas

          indeed. Why not ....

        • zao_89

          "Hello, Moto"

  • Doug

    Interesting stuff! I think this feature will get deeper as time goes on. I still believe in Google using Motorola as another company to come up with new ideas for AOSP. With Touchless Control on the Moto X, and this new feature in Google now, it seems supported. Since the Nexus 5 is rumored to have a Snapdragon 800, which has the voice core (forgot what they called it), maybe KitKat will support a feature similar to Moto X's Touchless Control. (Not sure if that'll happen though as it'll steal some sales from the Moto X, which is still a new device.)

    • Brendan

      I'm hoping for some form of Active Display, since touchless control will kill anything without a Snapdragon 800.

      • Kenton Douglas

        Works best with an OLED screen though. N5 will probably be LCD

  • coomb

    Okay, sooo... what? I used to say OK Google since last Spring since Google Now detects you saying "Google" and launches the search query anyway.

    • MeCampbell30

      Now you don't have to tap the microphone to do another search.

    • Logan B.

      You were still saying "Google." The point of this was to make the search more precise. So instead of you searching for something and your friend asks you "What did you just do?" and you reply "I just asked *Google*", GN won't start up another search. It's now listening for "Ok, Google" instead of just "Google."

  • usaff22

    And the "OK Google" hotwording is still not available on the Google Search website, 4 months after they announced it at IO 13. WHY?

    • Logan B.

      Because the whole NSA surveillance thing hit shortly after that announcement. Smart move on Google's part to delay it until this crap gets (at least somewhat) resolved.

      • usaff22

        Can't they at least make it optional, disabled by default? I would love to have it.

    • Bleakvision

      Wow I completely forgot about that. It seemed to be a huge deal back then.

  • evcon

    Can anybody help me figure out why my HTC One won't let me even use the hotword at all? I don't think I've ever been able to. Yes, the "hotword detection" and everything else is enabled. My search bar only says "Search" and not "Search, or say Google"

    • Ishaan Rajiv

      Change language to English(US).

      • evcon

        Already have that as I live in the US. I've searched through a ton of threads on the issue and I've made sure everything is in order (English US, hotword detection on, Google voice typing on/off, offline speech recognition, disabling each and every accessibility app) and yet it still doesn't work.

        • Brendan

          Try uninstalling and reinstalling the Google search app. Also make sure you don't have any music or anything playing. Mine works perfectly fine.

    • Adam Truelove

      Because Sense?

      • evcon

        No, my girlfriend's One works just fine. She is on stock Sense though and I'm on Trickdroid so I'll check after doing a wipe

        • akshay7394

          [Edit: never mind, you've said you made sure it's on already.]

          Go to Settings-> Voice -> Hotword Detection?

          Maybe it's left unticked accidentally?

          • Guest
  • http://abbiesreadingcorner.com/ Abbie

    It worked on my Razr MAXX but not sure how saying Ok Google is better then just Google. :p

  • QwietStorm

    So there's no way to update it but keep the hotword as Google?

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      I don't think so.

    • mike

      Both hotwords work on my phone.

      • mike

        Disregard. Forced closed then launched and only "ok Google" works now.

  • Brian

    I trained my Droid Ultra to respond to, "OK. Google, HAL." BTW, here's my home screen:

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      How'd you train it?

      • simp1istic


      • xHabeasCorpusx

        Likely Utter

  • Matt

    How do I see what version of Google now I have?

    • Simon Belmont

      Settings -> Apps -> Downloaded. The version should be in the screen when you click Google Now in that list.

      You can also just drag the Google Search app icon from the app drawer into the "Information" on the home screen. You can ALSO long-press the multitasking window/picture of Google Now and choose "Information" and these all take you to the same place.

  • Simon Belmont

    My guess is that along with KitKat (and with the Snapdragon 800 in the Nexus 5) we will see touchless activation of Google Now/Search. Saying "OK, Google" will present less false positives for this happening accidentally.

    Also, I'm gonna bet that the configurable hotword will come to pass. Why? Because people who use the aforementioned touchless activation will want to make their own personal activation word, and train it so others can't activate it. Just my guesses, here.

  • compupolis

    Does this mean "OK Google" works anywhere or does it still have to be at the Google Now screen?

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Google Search's search results.

  • http://www.hacktabs.com/ Anoop Sudhakaran

    Before custom Hotwords, We need Hotwords enabled for all Languages..Atleast all English (different countries) languages.

  • tlingitsoldier

    So I can say "Navigate to work," and it will say "Navigating to..." as well as give me the usual Navigate button. But saying "Navigate home" no longer works. It just gives me search results. I can say "Navigate TO home," and it will show me a map of the area, but it doesn't specifically let me navigate straight to my home address. I also tried tapping the map, but it doesn't even take me to Google Maps. I double checked that my address was still in Maps and Google Now, but I'm not seeing how I can use this feature now. This is one of the most frequently used commands I give to Google Now! Please don't say you've taken this out Google!

  • Crispin Swickard

    Works from the results on my GNEX, and my N10 after the update just fine.

  • http://www.frivjogo.info/ Friv Jogos

    The details are well-explained and very concise.

  • Bleakvision

    I want search filters. Still have to head to chrome for any more complex search.

  • Khairul Rizal

    I still cant set "Ok Google" for my Mac Chrome. Can anyone help?

  • Ben

    Just as an FYI, I have this on my N72013 already, and I can still say "google" and it works. It is prompting for 'Ok, Google' but it works just fine without the 'Ok' which I really prefer no saying

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Reboot or FC Search and restart it, and it should only start working for Ok Google then.

      • Ben

        damn why did I do that :( haha I'm so stupid. I liked just saying google

        • meak

          I too liked just saying Google rather than "ok Google".... LAME, JUST LAME! at least give us hotword options.

  • http://VinumVita.com Terrence Jones

    If you're having trouble updating the language package and you're rooted. Try uninstalling the application fully (with TitaniumBackup or other) and re-install the application with the new apk.

  • zloomi

    is there a way to manually update language ? or tweak somthing to get the app to update?!

  • QwietStorm

    So is it just me who lost the ability to download Google Search images?

  • GreatNews

    No luck on the S4

  • sivez

    How do i enable "Ok, Google" hotword in non-english language?

  • Jose Marie Maquinay

    Worked well with my stock Galaxy Note II

  • johnmiroki

    Neither of my Gnex or Nexus 7 gets this update yet.

  • meak

    How annoying....give options to change hotwords...

  • booboo

    I'd so buy this phone if I didn't have to say "OK Google" every time I wanted to search. Guess I'll just wait for iPhone 6 so I don't have to sound like a db when running a voice search, which I do often.

    • boo indeed

      "Okay, Siri..."