It looks like the "OK, Google" search hotword has now become a standard feature for advanced Android launchers. Nova Launcher added the search function in its 3.0 update earlier this month, and now its biggest competitor, Apex, has followed suit. Users who are on Android 4.4 can enable the voice-activated search function in Apex Launcher 2.4. Earlier versions, sadly, cannot access the functionality - you'll have to search with your fingers like some kind of sad troglodyte.

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Other changes for 2.4 include support for the new dynamic calendar icon in Today Calendar, which changes based on today's date, new small or hidden group/folder tabs in the app drawer, notification badges in the app drawer (for those who've purchased the $4 Apex Pro upgrade), and smoother transition effects. The list of updates isn't as dramatic as some of the previous ones, but advanced users who love to get their customization on will appreciate it.

Apex works with Android 4.0.3, and the main app is a free download. The OK Google hotword is dependent on the Google Search app, so you'll need to have that installed and set up before it will work. Owners of the Moto X and 2013 DROIDs, take note: I've found that launchers with OK Google hotword detection can interfere with Motorola's device-wide "OK Google Now" command, so it's best to disable it in the launcher settings.

Michael Crider
Michael is a native Texan and a former graphic designer. He's been covering technology in general and Android in particular since 2011. His interests include folk music, football, science fiction, and salsa verde, in no particular order.

  • http://googleplus.VoluntaryMan.com/ William Thieme

    Action Launcher is testing this in their beta program, too.

  • Larry Simpson

    Nova launcher allllllllllllll dayyyyyyyy

    • Dean

      No. Apex.

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      • Daniel Collins

        No. Nova.

        • Dean


  • WhoaManWtF

    Just FYI SmartLauncher has has "OK Google" support now for over a month and is an epic launcher!

    • Daniel Collins

      Really? Oh, hell yes!

      • WhoaManWtF

        Yeah, they've also updated it so you can rename, edit , add , delete categories too. Pretty cool.

  • FrankJL

    Is all about aviate that thing is sick and simple

    • SHeadius

      I deleted it within 20 minutes. It would be great for people who are not tech savvy, irritating as hell for a chronic tinkerer like me.

  • http://turbofool.com Jarrett Lennon Kaufman

    Took all of these launchers WAY too long to add this.

  • Daniel Collins

    YEAH! WOO!

  • unhappybirthday

    Huh. I'm on Android 4.2 and "Ok Google" hotword detection works fine on my device with the GEL launcher stub APK that AP provided . Why can't Apex make it work?