Google has started rolling out ‘Hey Google’ hotword on smartphone to more users. The search giant first began testing the feature in October, but it was only available to a handful of people. The feature is now being rolled out more widely to Android users.
The Google search app on Android has always had a feature where it could be triggered by saying “OK Google” voice command. The same feature was then extended to Google Assistant and the Assistant gained support for ‘Hey Google’ launch phrase with the launch of Google Home smart speaker. Now ‘Hey Google’ can also activate Google Assistant on smartphones.
Google has started pushing out a notification asking its users to retrain the voice model to launch with ‘Hey Google’ phrase. The retraining of Google Voice is required every time the user sets up a new command or wishes to retrain the Assistant.
The set up process is quite similar where you need to say “Hey Google” thrice to teach the Assistant to recognize your voice. Alternately, the process can also be commenced from Settings > Google > Search > Voice. Once completed, Google Assistant can now be launched with either “Ok Google” or “Hey Google” launch phrases. The new setup works even when the screen is turned off on devices which support always listening mode.
Last week, Google announced that it is bringing Assistant to older smartphones running Android 5.0 Lollipop and tablets running Android 6.0 Marshmallow. The Assistant is now available on nearly 80 percent of active Android devices and is also available on feature phones like JioPhone.
Google is making a significant stride towards an AI-first future and at I/O 2017, CEO Sundar Pichai reiterated how the company is redesigning its apps with AI capabilities. With the new feature, Google is making it more flexible to not only wake up your phone but also interact with the Assistant.