A recent update to Google Now made it so the it listened for the hotword on your home screen without you having to launch it or do anything else. Naturally, everyone went ‘yay’ and it was business as usual. The update, although not that amazing made it a little easier to use Google Now but it still doesn’t have anything on Siri which, although not voice activated, can be launched from any screen. It turns out you can get Google Now to listen for the OK Google hotword on any screen, even if you’re playing a game, or using Facebook. There’s a trick to unlocking it that involves nothing more than a quick voice search and a little tinkering in Google Now’s settings.
In Google Now, search for Okay Google Everywhere. You will first need to say ‘Okay Google’ in order to tell the app that you are about to issue a command and then say ‘Okay Google, Everywhere’. Disregard the search results and go to Google Now’s settings.
Tap Voice where you will find an ‘Ok Google Detection’ preference to customize. Here you can then select which screens Google Now should listen on. Note that ‘Any Screen’ means any app screen and if you want it to work on your lock screen, you have to enable the option from its own preference.
So, we took it for a test and played a few games, browsed Facebook, etc and each time the ‘Okay Google’ command was spoken, it popped right up waiting for further instructions. On the lock screen, you can say ‘Okay Google’ even if your screen is asleep and it will wake up, ready to hear your next command.
The process is simple enough but it makes me wonder; why does everything have to be a treasure hunt with Google? I remember when Google Now received the last update; I liked it but felt that it was still lacking because how much time do you really spend on the Home Screen when you aren’t looking for an app to launch? This is what I was looking for and it wasn’t exactly in plain sight.