A new update to the Google Search app on Android lets users activate voice search on any screen by saying the hotword “OK Google.”

Moto X touchless control

One of my favorite features on the Moto X is “touchless control”: even if the screen is locked, or you are in an app, you can say “OK Google” and wake the phone up for a search. Now, thanks to an update to the Google Search app, any Android phone can now trigger a voice search with Google’s hotword.

The feature, which was spotted by Droid Life, unfortunately doesn’t work when the screen is off. The Moto X has that ability, but it also has unique low-power hardware specifically for the feature.

Voice search on any screen is opt-in for now. You’ll find the option to turn on hotword detection in the Google Now app: scroll to the very bottom, and tap the Menu button. Options are in the voice settings menu. You’ll also find an option to opt out of Voice History, a new feature which presumably tracks things you’ve said previously in order to get better at recognizing your voice.

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  1. Whoa, awesome feature! I’ve been using Open Mic+ for that so far, but of course it’s not officially Google so it has some problems. I definitely look forward to using this so I don’t have to swipe up every time to do a quick voice action.
    Feel free to check out more tech news here.

  2. UK Nexus 5 here, it was on by default.

  3. It still does not work with Screen locked unlike Moto X which does ? Also this is a major battery hog and crashes sometimes.