Google is not letting their Google I/O conference get in the way of your regularly scheduled update Wednesday. Google Search is getting a point release that brings a handy new feature, “OK, Google” hotword detection from any screen.
Users of the Motorola Moto X have been able to use this feature since the device launched last year. Google baked it into the Homescreens of the Google Now Launcher that many devices can grab from the Play Store. This move puts it into the hands of anyone running Google Search 3.5.14+. Early reports make it look like you’ll also need Google Play Service 5.0+ installed, it is a good thing that is rolling out now too.
The new hotword detection feature will be available not only within the Homescreens and running apps on your device, but will be available on the Lock screen as well. A note in the opt-in security settings implies that the hotword detection will be possible with your screen off as well, provided you are plugged in and charging, but we cannot confirm this at this time. Both implementations will have to be turned on by diving into the settings in Google Now.
Permissions for this functionality may bring shivers to the squeamish in the crowd. The permissions make perfect sense, and the services should be considered adequate for most users, but Google makes it clear that using the services may store recordings of your voice, associated to your account, to help recognize your voice and improve speech recognition. Hit this Google support page to see the full list of benefits for what they are calling Google Audio History.
The folks over at Droid Life have a couple treats for those looking for more information on this update. They’ve put together a quick and dirty video of the hotword detection in action, which you’ll find below. They may, or may not (wink, wink) have an APK download link hidden in their comments. For most of us, the updates are rolling out now, you’ll see yours soon.
Before that video I promised, tell me, are you a fan of the “OK, Google” hotword? I know that some of you use “OK, Google” all the time and this update will be great for your needs. But across the spectrum, some of you despise the tool and never use Google Search anyway, what camp are you in?