Similar with Siri on an Apple iPhone, Google app or Chrome now incorporates a voice-enabled, hands-free search facility in the form of “Ok Google”. Going with the trend, Google is using voice recognition to make it easier and “friendlier” for users to interact with different mobile applications. Simply stating the phrase “Ok Google” while you are on the Google homepage of your android phone will start the Google Now application to listen to you and perform certain actions. However, this feature only automatically works if your mobile is using Android 4.4. For earlier versions, you have to manually launch the Google Now app or tap the microphone button first before saying “Ok Google”.
Apart from performing voice searches, “Ok Google” can also do other amazing stuff for you – such as setting reminders or alarms, providing road directions, initiating a phone call, sending emails to contacts and many more! Before you can do all these things, you need to ensure that you have the latest version of the Google application before activating “Ok Google” on your android phone.
Updating Google App via the Play Store
- For this “Ok Google” feature to work, your Google app version should be at least 3.5 or higher. To do this, first launch your Play Store application on your mobile phone.
- On the Google Play Store, tap on the Menu icon at the upper left-corner of the screen.
- On the Menu panel, tap on My apps & games. This will take you to a screen that lists all the applications installed in your phone. Search for Google app by scrolling up and down the list. If it needs to be updated, you will see the label “UPDATE” instead of “INSTALLED”. Just tap the application to start the update process.
Activating “Ok Google”
- Launch Google app
- Tap the Menu button on the upper-left corner of the screen.
- Choose Settings and then tap on Voice. You will now get a screen the shows all the voice options that you can configure on your mobile phone.
- Now, select “Ok Google” detection.
Based from the screen above, turning on or off the following options will specify how your mobile phone will listen and respond whenever it hears you say “Ok Google.” By the way, these options may differ depending on the device and some even require internet connectivity before you can toggle them on.
- From the Google app – Saying “Ok Google” while you have the Google app screen will automatically initiate its voice search facility. This is already activated by default. This is how your screen will look like when your Google app is listening to your commands.
- From any screen – Saying “Ok Google” when the device screen is on or even if it is charging will make your mobile phone respond to you.
- Personal results – This allows personal results for voice searches even when the device is locked. Just a reminder, activating this feature might allow someone else to use voice commands in accessing your phonebook contacts, initiating a call, sending a text message or getting hold of any of your personal information (even if your phone is locked).
- While driving – Saying “Ok Google” will integrate with Google Maps while you are driving to provide you with the directions you need.
“Ok Google” Voice Commands
To get “Ok Google” started, confirm that your mobile phone is connected to the internet. Otherwise, you will not be able to use the numerous voice commands that “Ok Google” offers. The following are the common voice commands for most Android mobile phones:
- Calling phonebook contacts
- Sending text messages or emails to phonebook contacts
- Sending Hangout mesages or starting a Hangout video call
- Checking voicemail
- Getting directions via Google Maps
- Checking local/international time and weather updates
- Launching mobile applications
- Setting calendar events, reminders and alarms
- Playing songs saved in the mobile phone
- Performing mathematical equations and converting units
- Searching online for images
- Configuring mobile phone’s Wi-Fi or Bluetooth settings
- Answering trivia questions