Ever since Google Now became a thing, Search has been the go-to voice command hub for all of Android. There has been one nagging issue, however: when using a Bluetooth headset, a long-press of the action button would bring up the tired old Voice Dialer, which is essentially useless for anything other than making a call. What if I just have to know how tall Joakim Noah is while out cycling. What am I to do?! I can't just stop – that's absurd. (He's 6'11" by the way.)

Fortunately, Google fixed this issue with the most recent Search update (version 3.2). Now, on most devices, a long-press of the action button on a Bluetooth headset brings up the "Speak Now" interface. Excellente.

1 2

Left: Old and ugly; Right: New hotness

Notice earlier I said "most devices?" Well, that's because Samsung devices still call for S Voice. No surprise there – Samsung is quite proud of its apps. Everyone else, however, should get Google's interface. Hopefully, anyway.

Update: If you disable S Voice by going to Settings -> General -> Application manager -> All -> S Voice -> Turn off, Google Voice Search will start popping up correctly (thanks, Justin Myers).

If you still don't have the update, you can snag the download from here. Enjoy all the new goodies.

Thanks, Michael Slavenko!

Cameron Summerson
Cameron is a self-made geek, Android enthusiast, horror movie fanatic, musician, and cyclist. When he's not pounding keys here at AP, you can find him spending time with his wife and kids, plucking away on the 6-string, spinning on the streets, or watching The Texas Chainsaw Massacre on repeat.

  • erz2192

    Does anyone know of a way to activate this using the Ford Sync system? Would love to be able to use the built in car system to activate Google Now.

    • http://www.facebook.com/jonathan.danna.733 Jonathan Danna

      there use to be an App that let you have a contacts entry which would, when "called" by an in-car system, open google Now. I can't remember the name of it, but if I find it in my bookmarks / saved apps I'll post it for you.

    • skitchbeatz

      I would like to know as well... a quick search makes it seem like Sync will intercept anything and everything and not pass anything to your phone. http://forums.androidcentral.com/verizon-galaxy-s-iii/303199-accessing-google-through-ford-sync.html

  • Fadakar

    Fucking finally.

  • Ben Baranovsky

    Yes! I just bought the new Jawbone Era and was using an ugly old app called Bluetooth Launcher to use the headset with Google Now. This is fantastic.

    Edit: Have yet to test it, but it would be nice if it would recognize that I'm using a headset and not turn on the screen. I'll see what happens.

    • Simon Belmont

      I wish that's the way it worked. From what I'm reading (haven't tested it myself yet), it only works if your phone's scfeen is on and unlocked.

      Now, don't get me wrong, as that small step in functionality is much better than having to deal with the old dialer. It's just that, when I'm using a Bluetooth headset, I don't want to have to actually pick up my phone and fiddle around with it before I can issue voice commands.

      • Ben Baranovsky

        I tried it earlier and was disappointed (but not surprised) to learn that it does not work with the screen off. Even the crappy voice dialer worked with the screen off. Hopefully they'll enable screen-less Google Now at some point.

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

    And this is what we get on Samsung devices.


    • SASD

      nexus or GE>

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

        1. I'm not rooted (AT&T Note 3, no root available).
        2. I already use Google Now/Voice/Search everywhere, including the double tap Home trick. This doesn't resolve S Voice popping up here though.

        • http://www.impulsivestudios.com/ Justin Myers

          Have you tried just disabling S-Voice completely in the application menu?

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

            Doh. I thought I already did (I did a big round of disabling apps when I got the phone) since S Voice didn't show up in the app drawer. Turns out, nope, it wasn't disabled. Now it is, and Google Voice Search opens correctly. Yay.

          • Drago

            If the screen is off, will Google Voice Search still activate via the Bluetooth headset? Will it work if you have a pattern or PIN lock?

            I have a Nexus 5. Thanks for your help.

          • remister

            For me, the old dialer popped up when the N5 was on locked screen mode.

          • Drago

            I see. Thanks for the reply.

            That sort of makes the feature pointless to me. I want to be able to do hands free stuff when the phone is sitting there (driving would be an obvious scenario).

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

            As for the Note 3... hilariously, Google Search just crashes if you try to enable it with BT and screen off.

          • Russell Morris

            When I follow the directions above, and go to applications manager > all >S voice, I don't see a "turn off" option anywhere...on a vzw note 3 Btw.

          • Russell Morris

            That's weird...just went back in, and Now it's there...

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

            Maybe Samsung or Verizon disabled it for some reason?

        • Jaime

          How you do the double tap home trick?

    • vgergo
  • Kevin

    The old voice dialer still comes up if the phone is locked so it looks like Google got it half right...

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


      • Dennis Ulijn

        My Nexus 5 asks to "please unlock the device" (have pattern lock)

        • Simon Belmont

          Hmm. What does it do if you turn the pattern lock off?

          Does it bring up the old dialer or the Google Voice Search if the screen is off? I only ask because I, ironically, forgot my Bluetooth headset today (I'm at work on a break, ATM).

          • Dennis Ulijn

            You're right, straight to the Voice Dailer... Well, this probably gets fixed soon enough.

          • Simon Belmont

            Thanks for checking. Pretty much what I expected.

            That sort of makes the whole thing moot to me. I'd like to be able to interact with Google Voice Search and commands using my Bluetooth headset without having to go through the motions of waking and unlocking the phone, especially when driving.

          • Dennis Ulijn

            That is true, and I can't see that it's NOT Google idea of this. Why else bake in all functions of calling and sending messages... Maybe this Wednesday (as all Google updates seem to be released on Wednesdays)?

          • Simon Belmont

            I agree. It seems like a no-brainer to include this because if it's not included, then it really limits the scope of its usefulness, IMO.

            The whole point of a Bluetooth headset is to be hands-free. Google finally let Google Voice Search be activated by a Bluetooth headset's button, so why not go whole hog and let it be done when the device's screen is off?

          • http://www.mscha.nl/ Michael Schaap

            10 months later: or not. :(

          • http://www.jonbross.com/ Jon Bross

            If the screen is off (even with the pattern lock disabled) it will still bring up the old voice dialer :(

            I thought I was smart by having tasker automatically disable the pattern lock if it was connected to my car stereo's bluetooth. I guess I still can't switch music on the fly hands free :(

          • Simon Belmont

            Exactly. I tested it a lot in the last couple days. Even if you DISABLE the lock screen entirely, it still brings up the old voice dialer. This basically kills the use case scenario for me. I want completely hands-free operation without having to interact with the phone (all voice).

            Anyway. Like I've said about: My guess is Google hasn't enabled screen off voice command activation yet because they want to get the voice interaction up to par. For example, it'll basically need to walk you through voice commands conversationally (and hands-free), and repeat what you've dictated before sending a message, and so forth. Google probably just wanted to polish that before it's ready for prime time. Can't blame them and I'm looking forward to it.

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

      Better yet, Search straight up crashes on the Note 3.

    • Krapfa

      this issue is still there after 5 month :-/

  • Xander

    Charge your phone.

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

      Don't tell me what to do!


  • remister

    The initialization process for voice over Bluetooth process still a damn long time for me.

  • Drago

    Question. Will this Bluetooth Google Voice Search activation work even with the screen off and locked, also will it work if I have a pattern or PIN lock set?

    Just curious. Thanks in advance.

    • Matthew Fry

      I would guess no. If this is something you want to do, you can check out SkipLock (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.benhirashima.skiplock) which can keep your device unlocked while a bluetooth device is connected or you are connected to a wifi network. Very very handy.

      • Simon Belmont

        That's a pretty cool app. It reminds me of the trusted devices thing that the Moto X uses, so the touchless controls can be used when a pattern lock is on and a certain "trusted" Bluetooth device is connected.

        Really hoping to see Google implement a trusted devices type of thing in stock Android. Touchless controls would be nice, too (Snapdragon 800 can do it).

        • Matthew Fry

          I'd love to have that as well. This app doesn't work with Bluetooth LE so we can't make a ghetto trusted device.

  • Artlan Wolf

    My only issue with this is that it seems to have completely replaced said Voice Dialer - which while dated, at least worked for dialing. I spent several frustrated minutes/attempts while commuting trying to get the new one to work and it even showed me a helpful card about how to repeat my "Call so-and-so" command, complete with visual example : yet never once responded correctly. Though, ironically I suppose, I was indeed able to perform a basic search. So... there's that I suppose.

    Will have tinker more with it, maybe I am just doing something horribly wrong (wouldn't be the first time)

  • GreatNews

    No luck on LG G2

  • GreatNews

    And this is what I get on my LG G2 the old stupid ugly one.... Go figure...

  • Dennis Ulijn

    Sweet! Hadn't tried it yet because I did not expect this. Few things though: You can start Google Now live listening by holding the headset button, but you can't stop it. I'd expect one short press to make it stop listening.
    That, and I would love for the volume buttons on my headset (Apple headset and new Earpods) to work... I think this is patented or there is just no 4th pin in the 3.5mm jack, but still, would be very nice.
    I know these functions are replacable by other apps by 3, 4 or 5 presses, but that's a workaround for buttons I have either way.

  • nvillaco

    Got so excited for a second there but as others are pointing out, looks like Google Now only launches if the phone is unlocked. There is, however, another option/workaround for Moto X users. You can launch "Touchless Controls" instead of "Google Search" when the bluetooth button is pressed and Touchless Controls will launch instead of the crappy old Voice Dialer. This works both with the phone locked and unlocked. After all, Touchless Controls is the same as Google Now anyways.

    • Simon Belmont

      Yeah. Not sure why Google is balking at letting Google Voice Search launch instead of the old voice dialer, when the device's screen is off.

      It really renders the whole "hands-freeness" of a Bluetooth headset useless when I have to turn on my phone's screen and unlock it before it will listen to my voice commands. Come on, Google, fix this (you're halfway there!).

      • nvillaco

        The other workaround for non-Moto X's is what @benbaranovsky:disqus mentions in his comment. Before I got my Moto X, I used this app called "Bluetooth Launcher". It's crappy and has the ugliest interface but it works. I hate keeping apps with little purpose installed (in this case, for the random times I am bluetooth connected and want to do a voice command that is not calling someone and I want to do it via bluetooth button and not on the phone's screen) but that is the price we must pay for Now (pun intended). At least until Google fixes it all the way... Baby steps...

        • Simon Belmont

          Yeah. I have toyed with that app. It's ugly as sin, and I think it targets FroYo design language, but it does work. The problem is that it screws something up with your lock screen when it's activated (it disappears). The phone generally needs a reboot after using it.

          For me, it just makes no sense for Google not to implement this now. Considering how hard they've been pushing Google Now and the new commands in Google Voice Search, it makes total sense to allow it to be accessed when using a hands-free device, and I'm hoping to see that implemented soon (maybe in a major revision to Google Search, or hopefully, in the next minor revision).

          • nvillaco

            Interesting, I never had that problem, although I was using Widgetlocker lockscreen at the time. Anyways, ya they definitely will fix it, Google is obviously pushing Google Now. Personally, I always loved using voice commands and I use them a ton (especially in conjunction with the AutoVoice plugin for Tasker). This is why the Moto X was such a perfect phone for me, cause now I got my voice commands any time I want with the Touchless Controls.

            But ya, you're right, with all the places they are pushing Google Now (Moto X, Nexus 5 launcher, soon to be on desktop chrome), you'd think that on a bluetooth device would be the first place they'd look to implement a voice command.

          • Simon Belmont

            Yeah. On a Bluetooth device or by enabling their OWN touchless controls (the Nexus 5 can do low-power voice commands, too, with the Snapdragon 800) hopefully for the next version of Android (or maybe a Google Search update).

            I use voice commands heavily, too, so having it work the way I want to on a Bluetooth headset (or touchless) will be great. It's only a matter of time.

        • c3k

          Look at this simple utility: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=de.itdevcrowd.voicecommand (thanks dev!)

          And "voice dialer" seems to have some problems too...see the screenshot, phone language and text is italian, input voice is english (and didn't recognize neither "call" or "chiama" commands!):

          Please star and follow this issue: https://productforums.google.com/d/msg/nexus/gUAEUtDxWJY/Bh7fgnPoSJcJ

  • maniel

    remember when you didn't needed internet to voicedial? I remember... so how make a call with it in a country where google now voice commands are not supported?

  • Simon Belmont

    My guess is this is "a good start" for the beginning of true hands-free voice commands with Google Voice Search. Maybe in a major release (Google Search v4.0?) we'll see voice commands being fully supported by a device that has its screen off (and can be activated by a Bluetooth headset's button).

    At the very least, they've gotten Google Voice Search to take over for the old voice dialer when the phone or tablet is awake and unlocked. Hopefully it's a milestone towards achieving true hands-free operation and commands.

  • Scott Breitbach

    APK Download is for 3.2.16... but mine says I'm on 3.2.17... ?

  • David Dudovitz

    The Voice Dialer crashes on my 4.2.2 Droid DNA.

  • Ali Said Jamaleddine

    I am on Nexus 5 with Google Search 3.2.17. I am still getting the old Google voice dialer. I was very excited about this as I can integrate it with Autovoice.

    Am I missing any settings?

    • Simon Belmont

      Nope. It only works if the phone has the screen on and is unlocked.

      IMO, that basically makes it useless, but that's just me. I'm hoping Google adds the ability to launch Google Voice Search from a Bluetooth headset while the phone's screen is off soon.

      • Ali Said Jamaleddine

        I am trying it with the screen on and unlocked. I do not get Google Search. I get the old voice dialer!!

        • Simon Belmont

          That's odd. Not sure what's going on in your case.

          For me, if I long-press my Bluetooth headset's button, it activates Google Voice Search. Hope you can figure it out.

          • Ali Said Jamaleddine

            Very odd indeed. I hope I can find a solution soon.

          • Ali Said Jamaleddine

            SOLVED: I rebooted the phone and now it is working. Yaaay.

            I suppose it did not work at first because it was asking me which app to launch (in my case, Autovoice and Google Search). I chose Google Search and 'Always'. However, it only worked after a reboot.

          • Simon Belmont

            Haha. You know, I was going to ask you if you rebooted, just in case, but I almost felt like that would be an insulting question, so I didn't. ;)

            Glad it worked out for you. Cheers. :D

          • Ali Said Jamaleddine

            Actually, I have rebooted my phone few times since I updated google search. So unless a neat feature working is tied to me reading the Android Police article, a reboot was technically done. It may have had to do with the app not set as default in the first place. And the reboot fixed that.

            Thanks for your support Simon and prompt replies :)

  • Carpentractor

    I have an s3 and I always use the supplied headphones while driving. It always killed my soul that pushing and holding the action button on the mic would wake the phone up into "s " voice. I made sure that I turned "s" voice off and boom! Now Google voice search comes up! I don't have a pin to unlock, just a swipe. This is great news for using true hands free while driving.

    • Simon Belmont

      So, you're saying on your Galaxy S3 Google Voice Search comes up even if the screen is off? Are your headphones wired (I assume they are) or Bluetooth?

      With my Bluetooth headphones, and the new Google Search v3.2, on my Nexus 5, if the screen is off, it still brings up the old voice dialer. If the screen is on and unlocked, it brings up Google Voice Search, but that's sort of pointless since I already had to turn on and unlock my phone to get that far (something I'd never attempt while driving).

  • Andrew Beard

    The problem I always had with Bluetooth Launch is that it worked exactly once in a row. If I had already launched Google Search and hit the bluetooth button again the mic never activated (I guess since it was in the app to be launched).

    • Simon Belmont

      That's the problem I had, too. In fact, it would actually screw something up with my lock screen, and I'd have to reboot the phone.

      Bluetooth Launch is nice, but it's hacky. Google should just allow a Bluetooth headset to activate Google Voice Search under any circumstances.

  • Alex Gourenko

    Also it still uses old dialer if you have a PIN set and device is locked...

    • Simon Belmont

      It still uses the old voice dialer even if you have no security set. I actually turned the lock screen off COMPLETELY, and it still doesn't work.

      My guess is Google hasn't enabled screen off voice command activation
      yet because they want to get the voice interaction up to par. For
      example, it'll basically need to walk you through voice commands
      conversationally (and hands-free), and repeat what you've dictated
      before sending a message, and so forth. Google probably just wanted to
      polish that before it's ready for prime time. Can't blame them and I'm
      looking forward to it.

  • DoubleP90

    My Jawbone Era button never worked since i bought it, today it did and i was able to test this goodness :D (i have to press it at some strange angles though)

    • Simon Belmont

      Yeah, it works. But not with the screen off, right?

      Hoping Google fixes that in the next update. I want true hands-free Bluetooth interaction with Google Voice Search, even when my phone's screen is off.

      • DoubleP90

        Unfortunatelly it doesn't work when screen is off, sux.

        • Simon Belmont

          Yeah, it doesn't. I've tested it extensively over the last two days, and the same old voice dialer just pops up.

          My guess is Google hasn't enabled screen off voice command activation yet because they want to get the voice interaction up to par. For example, it'll basically need to walk you through voice commands conversationally (and hands-free), and repeat what you've dictated before sending a message, and so forth. Google probably just wanted to polish that before it's ready for prime time. Can't blame them and I'm looking forward to it.

  • Cass

    I bought my phone for the simple act of being able to voice dial without seeing or touching my phone - and now, because of Google talk, I don't know what stage of the dialling process I'm at without looking at the screen, I have no confirmation of WHO I am calling without looking at the screen, and if google doesn't recognise the name from my list, instead of offering a suggestion, it just goes to google.... all without any voice prompts coming through... This is actually extremely frustrating for me, I liked it better before. I do I get rid of the google stuff.

  • jonsaddles

    Works lovely when the phone is unlocked but push the headset button with the screen off and I get the old voice dialer instead.
    Any thoughts on how to sort this would be much appreciated as Google now on the button is fab.

  • Michael_Smith69

    Love Google voice search! I use the voice to text button on the keyboard so I can speak text messages. I'm not sure when it started, but lately, when I press the voice to text button to start dictating a text message, the music that was playing in the background no longer stops.

    It use to be that the music playing in the background would stop whenever I press the button so that I could dictate a text. It no longer does this. Am I missing a simple setting or something?

    Samsung note2 Verizon

  • JDoe

    Did not think it was possible but Google Search on a Bluetooth is actually worse than S Voice. Google Search does not ask for confirmation of who you intend to call and often calls the wrong person. Also if you send a voice-dictated text, Google Search does not read it back. S Voice does both of these things. I turned off Google Search so that S Voice became the default Bluetooth dialer.