Users running the latest version of Android can now change simple settings with simple voice commands, hands-free.
Google Now has long supported voice commands for jumping to device settings like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, etc. But there was no way to do it with just your voice – issuing a command would open the correct setting, but you had to manually toggle it with a tap. Now this small, but rather inexplicable annoyance is gone, at least if you run Lollipop and the latest version of the Search app.
First discovered by Android Police, the feature currently works with the built-in flashlight, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth. Other features like GPS, Airplane Mode, volume settings, or tethering don’t seem to work in our testing. For the three features that work, you will get a vocal confirmation and a card that lets you toggle the feature back off with a tap.
Devices running KitKat or earlier don’t seem to have the feature, though turning on the flashlight (but not Bluetooth or WiFi) works on my KitKat-running Ascend Mate 7.
It’s unclear what’s taking Google so long to roll out this relatively simple functionality to Google Now, given that features like taking pictures or playing songs from Play Music or YouTube are already integrated. While, in many cases, a couple of taps may be easier than saying command, this is just another milestone on the long road to human-like computer comprehension.
On a related note, those who want more extensive command support in Google Now can try out Commandr; it’s not an official solution, but it gets the job done.