An update to Chrome beta a few weeks ago came with the bizarre side effect that hotword detection no longer worked in the Google search app or in the Google Now Launcher (GNL). The next version of Chrome beta didn't do anything to fix it, either. Well, Google Search to the rescue – yesterday's big search update seems to have fixed hotword detection.
After the update, the mic icon is again filled in the Google search bar, indicating the app is listening for the "Ok Google" hotword. And indeed, it works. We've checked this out on a few devices, and it appears to be legit. So now you can go back to talking to your phone normally, just like every other day.