How to enable the OK, Google hotword from all screens (rooted KitKat only)

July 2, 2014
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okay google now voice commands

Last week Google rolled out an update to its Search app that brought an awesome piece of functionality – the ability to use the “OK, Google” hotword from any screen, without having to switch to Google Now first.

Unfortunately, Google seems to be enabling the feature on a per-user basis, meaning that you may not be able to activate it, even if you’re on the latest version of the Search app, which is 3.5.15. Also, Google appears to have slowed or possibly even halted the rollout of the feature, leaving many anxious users high and dry.

If you can’t wait to use voice commands from anywhere in the phone, there’s a relatively simple way to activate it manually, courtesy of Adam Lawrence. Be warned that the method requires KitKat, root access, and you can’t use it on the L release.

The method uses a special app called UnleashTheGoogle, which activates the Debug options in the Search app. You will need the latest versions of Search and Play Services installed.

Here are the steps:

  • Install UnleashTheGoogle and grant it Superuser access.
  • Force stop Google Search.
  • In Search settings, access the “Config Flags” option from the new “Dogfood” section
  • In the list of flags, find the “e300_voice_everywhere” and “enable e300” flags and set both of them to ON.
  • In the same list of flags, select the “speaker_id_supported_locales” and in the dialog enter “en-US” and then tap OK.
  • Scroll down and select “Save Config Settings”. You should now be able to activate the feature.
  • In Search settings, select Voice, then “OK, Google Detection”, then check the “From any screen” option. This will launch a one-time training process that will allow the app to recognize your voice. Accept the terms and you are good to go.

If you want to undo the changes, you can uninstall the updates to the Search app from the App Info screen.

Let us know if the method works for you.

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