It seems that Google introduced an annoying little bug in the most recent version of Chrome Beta, which just rolled out yesterday. After installing the update and launching Chrome Beta, hotword detection no longer works in the Google Experience Launcher or in Google Now through a different launcher.


This has been confirmed on a Nexus 5 and Nexus 7 on our end. Both devices worked fine before launching the new Chrome Beta update (33.0.1750.31), then hotword detection failed universally, as indicated by the "hollow mic" icon in the search box. Rebooting the device fixes the issue, but like clockwork it will reoccur when Chrome Beta is used. The Moto X doesn't seem to be affected because it uses Touchless Control for its voice interactions.

You can still tap on the microphone up top to manually trigger voice input – only the hotword is busted. Although, it's still annoying if you've grown accustomed to having this feature. Sometimes, "beta" still means beta, even when it's Google. Expect an update to (hopefully) fix this soon.

[Thanks, +Keith Mathews]

Ryan Whitwam
Ryan is a tech/science writer, skeptic, lover of all things electronic, and Android fan. In his spare time he reads golden-age sci-fi and sleeps, but rarely at the same time. His wife tolerates him as few would.

He's the author of a sci-fi novel called The Crooked City, which is available on Amazon and Google Play.

  • Steven A.

    No issues HTC One GPE

  • scuttlefield

    Thank you! I couldn't for the life of me figure out what was going on with hotword detection on my N5. Not too worried about it, but good to know what the problem is.

  • Jimas

    Hmmm, it somehow still works for my N5...weird.

  • vorsic

    It's working on my HTC one but I've restarted the phone since installing it so maybe that did something.

  • TheFirstUniverseKing

    I wonder why Chrome would affect that feature. Aren't Google Now and Chrome entirely separate?

    • Ygor Vaz

      probably google chrome use his own hotword detection for other things, but when you open it and then go back to the home screen it doesn't stop the process/service that is working on the detection, then the launcher and google now thinks that the microphone/hotword detection process is busy. Still, just a wild guess.

  • Ben Baranovsky

    Rebooted HTC One Google Play edition, fixes issue.

    If that doesn't work, before rebooting I also attempted to uninstall and reinstall the English voice pack located the the settings for Google Now.

    • PhilNelwyn

      That was mentioned in the article.
      Have you launched Chrome beta again since reboot?

      • Ben Baranovsky

        Damn. Just tried it. Broken. Thanks for that, when it happened later I would have been a bit confused. :p

  • Guest

    Rebooting fixed it on my Nexus 5. Was wondering what was going on :P

  • dykl

    sorry for this question but may i know the widgets used above?

    • RyanWhitwam

      Elixir 2 with custom icons, System Monitor, and Battery Widget Reborn.

      • dykl

        thank you!

      • Simon Belmont

        Good choices! I love Battery Widget Reborn and System Monitor, and they are a staple on all of my devices.

        I like how you made them KitKat styled with the white. Nice!

  • Alexander Terry

    OK, but why is this happening? It would be nice to know if this has to do with the google now integration into chrome cannery.

    • TheFirstUniverseKing

      Chrome Canary's Google Now integration could be why. It makes more sense than Chrome Beta being the problem. An app that's unrelated to Google Now outside of being made by the same company.

  • philxcv

    After a reboot it worked for me again, n5 - 4.4.2

  • sup

    Also noticed websites' progress bar would fully load but the page would be blank. Tapping on the tab switcher button would make the site immediately appear. Weird.

    • sup

      Forgot to mention, text sizing problems, especially in forums, have showed up again. But on the other hand, still gotta give props to the chrome team, this release is the smoothest I've ever seen. Performance is AOSP browser-like.

    • Averix

      Yeah, this happens a lot lately it seems. Between that and the tab being black when you come back to it, this really needs some fixing.

  • Gav456

    This issue isn't new, although it hasn't been caused by chrome before. In the past (for me) the feature is disabled when you give an app access to the speaker (video, music, games, et cetera) if you minimise/kill said app without pausing/stopping playback, or cancel playback through other means (lockscreen, widget etc.), the always listening feature remains disabled. Have chrome added speaker permissions in latest update?

    • Indianajonze

      that's not an issue, it's working as intended. google says it's disabled to avoid unwanted hotword triggering from audio coming from the speaker...

      • Gav456

        It's an issue if it doesn't come back on until you reboot. I know why it disables it, thanks.

  • robert wilson

    the issue has been reported here if you want to star it.

  • tehboogieman

    Haven't noticed this issue on my N4 running CM11 nightlies. The mic is hollow on the search widget in Nova launcher, but since Nova doesn't support hotword detection AFAIK, thats how its supposed to be.

    Works fine in Google Now and GEL

  • ProtoKun7

    Hah, I didn't even notice, seeing as I'm English and UK English doesn't even have hotword detection for whatever reason...

    • Stylus_XL

      Same here, never even had the chance to use this feature.

      • Ddot

        Change your Google Now Language settings to English US, without the new Chrome obv

  • Thomas Cai Jinzhan

    So that's the cause!! I was wondering why 'Ok, Google' doesn't work for today! Thanks Police!

  • senor_heisenberg

    It screwed up more than just the hotword. My sports teams are missing now, as well as a few other quirks that weren't present before.

  • Marcell Lévai

    "Sometimes, "beta" still means beta, even when it's Google."

    Heck, sometimes even Google's stable software is "beta" ;)

    • Brad

      Such as popping out hangouts in chrome, currently... ugh... such a pain in the neck lately.

    • osm0sis

      Yup! The new stable breaks double tap+pull zoom on devices withwith DPI <= 200 as well. Annoying as hell and I had to work around it on my set top box using Xposed App Settings module.

    • dontsh00tmesanta

      How long has Gmail been beta lol

      • Tim242

        Gmail has been out of beta since July 2009.

        • dontsh00tmesanta

          it was in beta since the early 2000's dude

          • Tim242

            Gmail was in beta for 5 years, 04-09. It came out of beta in July '09. Google is your friend.

          • dontsh00tmesanta

            You dont seem to be including the private beta buddy

          • Tim242

            It only had the beta tag from 04-09...that includes the private beta. But that was not the point. You stated that it was still in beta, when in fact it has been out of beta for almost 4 years.

          • dontsh00tmesanta


          • TheRealBeesley

            Relax, Tim242 has over 15,000 posts. Thats dedication. Or it screams NO LIFE. Its pretty evident he's your average neckbeard in mum mums basement. Best not to argue with it. It'll go away soon.

          • dontsh00tmesanta


          • Tim242

            My point is that you were wrong. Gmail is not still in beta.

          • dontsh00tmesanta

            My point was how long was it in beta dude what are you talking about

          • Tim242

            You edited your original post. You originally said, "How long has it been in beta?" Now it reads "How long was it in beta?". Don't say you didn't change it, because I have the screenshot to prove it. You were wrong. Let's move on.

          • dontsh00tmesanta

            This is incorrect but photoshop is an amazing tool

          • Tim242

            You should learn to admit when you are wrong. It will make you a better person. You do know that it shows when a post is edited, right?

          • dontsh00tmesanta

            I still dont know what you are talking about tim

          • dontsh00tmesanta

            Why does it matter? You mustve read wrong. Im willing to let it be

          • dontsh00tmesanta

            OK? I dont know what you are regarding lol

  • Cesar

    "The Moto X doesn't seem to be affected because it uses Touchless Control for its voice interactions."

    Moto X FTW!

    • MeCampbell30

      This was all I needed to hear. And I'm out . . .

  • Adam Truelove

    I'm not using Chrome beta and sometimes that damn mic icon refuses to fill in for me. I'm on a Nexus 5 running stock 4.4.2.

  • KCCO

    Moto X would work from lock screen. Using the GEL it wouldn't work from the homescreen.. If regular chrome is installed works no problem anywhere on any screen.. for now just leaving regular and chrome beta installed. use beta for browsing. and have regular to make sure all works fine.. my 2 cents..

  • Jason Bourne

    Aaaaand... uninstalled.

  • fzammetti

    This isn't a universal issue apparently: my 2013 N7 with the update works fine still (I just tried it to be sure, and I even launched Chrome after and tried again, made no difference). Next Launcher 3D for me though so seems like there's something else at play here, it's not as simple as "Chrome breaks it".

  • TopXKiller

    Am I the only one who actually still touches the mic even with the hotword around? Force of habit I guess..

  • unsivilaudio

    Working fine here. N4 Carbon 4.3.1, GEL

  • Kolyan24k

    They also introduced text flow bug where that I noticed on xda

  • Jeremy Rock

    This was driving me nuts yesterday. I did a hard reset...

  • Chi Ahrens

    Anyone know if this was fixed in yesterday's release? I hate rebooting my phone. I feel like I'm going to miss that call from Warren Buffet telling me that he's my long lost father.

  • Chris G

    Fyi, latest update fixes this issue. Finally!

    • Indianajonze

      no i don't think so...

      • Chris G

        No I spoke to soon. It only came back as updating shuts down the app.

        • Indianajonze

          which btw is outrageous. this issue is going on 3 weeks now. are you kidding me google?

          • Chris G

            Looks like it's fixed with the latest version of Google search. This time the mic stays full even after opening up the beta chrome app

          • Indianajonze

            indeed. fixed. finally

  • Mark Bailey

    This is not fixed yet? Chrome Beta has updates few times and still broken on mine...

  • Mark Bailey

    I think the new Search update fixed this...?