While we’ve been able to say “OK Google” when Google Search is pulled up for a while now, the ability to say the catchphrase and have Google Search initiate whatever you’re asking it to do from any application is now rolling out in waves to end users and has been for the past week or so.
To see if you’ve got the new functionality available, make sure you’re updated to the latest Google Search from the Play Store, open Google Search and tap Menu > Settings > Voice > “OK Google” detection. If your account has OK Google anywhere functionality enabled, you’ll see an option for “From any screen” and “From lock screen.”
Once enabled, the app will ask you to help it train hotword detection by saying “OK Google” three times. After that, if your screen is on or if you’re charging your phone, you can say “OK Google,” and have it pop up and listen to what you have to say.
I’m not sure if it’s the ROM I’m on or just the first hiccups of a new listening app, but I’m noticing if I don’t pause between saying “OK Google” and what I want it to do, it misses the first word. It’s probably just loading something in the background, but it is something I’ve had to train myself to work around.
I don’t have any jackass friends handy this morning, but I’m betting you can start going around saying “OK Google,” near people who have other applications open and trip them up.
Something important to note here is you cannot download the functionality if you’re currently up to date with Google Search. There is no APK out there in the root community that’s going to get Google Now anywhere working. It’s rolled on an account/device basis on Google’s side.
If you’re a big user of voice commands in Google Now, this is probably something for you. If you have a one year old who likes to yell constantly or are trying to use this in public, it’s probably not an option you’re going to want to enable.
I don’t have stats on battery drains yet, but as it’s only when the screen is on or charging that’s going to be a bit hard to lock down. My bet is the reason I’m seeing some lag between “OK Google,” and the voice recognition is that the keyword detection is a different (hopefully lower processor power) engine than the voice recognition.