Just when you thought we were done with the already rather extensive Google Search teardown, another wild teardown appears. Yup, still the same good old Search 2.7, but this time, we found a hidden feature that you will really want, even more than custom hotwords. At least I think you will.


Turns out, there's a secret flag within Search that lets you use the hotword, set by default to 'Google,' anywhere in search results instead of just the home Activity. By default, Search will let you say "Google" to activate voice input only in the main Search screen, after which you'd have to tap the Back button in order to use it again. It's nice, but it's not very fluid, as you have to keep touching your device.

The secret flag enables it in search results, so you can perform search after search after search without ever touching your phone or tablet. Allow me to demonstrate:

Neat, right? I hope Google enables it sooner rather than later, or even better - makes it a user-configurable setting. My guess is they will couple it with the custom hotword feature, as then you'd be able to change the phrase in case it triggers too many false positives while looking at search results and talking to people around you.

As for the technical details, the flag is located in res/values/bools and is called hotword_from_results. To activate it, one would flip it from false to true, like so:

<bool name="hotword_from_results">true</bool>

We have made a decision to not distribute the modified APK, considering a) it requires root and modifying a system file which could break your search and b) out of respect for Google, which would likely frown upon such distribution of modified software. I ask that you do not post links to such APK in the comments, should you create such an APK yourself.

Santiago Rosales and Paul Price contributed to the discovery. Thank you both!

P.S. Yes, there will be part 3. Update: Here it is.