Google Search 3.5.14 rolling out, adds “OK Google” hotword to any screen

by: Jonathan FeistJune 25, 2014

Google Search 3.5 update image: Droid Life

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.

Google Search 3.5 update

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?

  • JamesMcJon

    This is pretty awesome actually. I had been disappointed by the lack of anything coming out of the “low power core” discussion a while back for the Nexus 5, and this seems to be the next best thing.

    • Jsilvermist

      Well if you read all the lines on the “L” shaped photo made of words in the background during the keynote, one of the things coming from Android L was: “hardware-assisted hot-word” as shown at 1:11:40 on the official keynote.

      So we might end up seeing this functionality coming soon, since the hardware is already build in to the Nexus 5, just not being used yet.

  • David Manvell

    I have the required app versions on my Note 8″ and it does not give me those options in Google Voice settings.

  • Harry

    I use it regularly. What does so me is the fact that I got used to play google now on moto from any screen. Now with this update, I hope to use it more often especially given that it had now been optimized from Indian accent ;-)

  • Dan

    Google has updated their help website with new information.

    Here are the instructions to enable “Ok Google” from any screen:

    I am assuming this will only work once it has been rolled out to your account, of course.

  • monkey god

    Does this work with Nova Launcher?

    • The Horsefly

      give it a few weeks and see if it is a battery hog which i would imagine it would be.

    • Yes it does. Nova actually already has this built in for months now. Does not really use any extra battery. Go to settings and you will see a ok google hotword. Click that and turn it on. Can say ok google anywhere in nova launcher. Doesn’t work on the lockscreen or in apps however.

  • Smply_Rckless

    So this only works w the google launcher ??? That’s wack

    • Tuấn Ankh

      since it works everywhere, it shouldn’t have anything to do with the launcher app. I think if you use another launcher and say “Ok Google”, it will bring you to the search app instead of a small search pop up like in Google Now Launcher.
      Just a guess anyway. xD


      This is the google search that is being updated not the google now launcher, so just my opinion, but i think it will work woth other launchers as well

      • Smply_Rckless

        Oh, ok bc I’m running Sense & read somewhere it would only work on the Google launcher. Thx for the information though.

  • Gitanshu Sardana

    This does work on Lock screen while charging.
    Look at the nav bar in this screenshot i took this morning.

  • Ashwin

    I’m having Note 3 SM-N900 and running stock 4.4.2 KitKat…I just manually installed this update to Google Search app and I’m disappointed to find no options to enable those features…I guess, these “OK, Google” hotword features only apply to Nexus and GPE devices…Other devices are unlucky…If this was mentioned anywhere in the post, I wouldn’t have spent time and data to download this useless update(atlease for me)…!!!

    • Jaime

      From AP:
      It appears this feature is rolling out by account, not APK. While basically everyone on the AP team is already running the latest version, I’m the only one seeing hotword detection. So, be calm young panda, it’ll get to you soon enough.

    • Matt Dowdy

      Isn’t there also an update to Google play services required? Hopefully it’ll work for you if you can get that updated too

      Here’s the link to updated play services

  • Rafter

    Has been working fine on my Nexus 4 with Nova ever since I updated, however, I’ve been getting terrible battery life after the update; slept with 94%, woke up with 71%

  • Matt Dowdy

    I traded my nexus 5 last week to get the moto x for this very functionality, although I really like my moto x I wish I had known about this and waited!

  • Jaime

    Hi everybody
    From AP: It appears this feature is rolling out by account, not APK. While basically everyone on the AP team is already running the latest version, I’m the only one seeing hotword detection. So, be calm young panda, it’ll get to you soon enough.

    So, be patience!

  • Matt Dowdy

    The beep sound before and after recognition sounds a lot better in the new version, just need Google now to read back dictated sms which I was hoping for in this version but I’ll keep hoping

  • Balajee Ks

    Just installed on my Nexus 10 and Galaxy Note 3 (SM9005) still no sign of changes but the new sound looks neat. Waiting for the feature roll out.

  • districtjack

    It is a great tool that eliminates the time it takes to type a search word/s, but the paranoid conspiracy theory types are going to go crazy over the hotword detection while the screen is off. Lol

  • grumpyfuzz

    just got updated to 3.5.15 :/