Android Smart Phone for Smart Home (Google Now Edition)

Ok-Google-Voice-SearchThis post serves as a update for my readers who are Tasker fanatics. If you had followed my previous guide on AutoVoice tasker to create custom voice control for your smart home, you might have hoped that you can simply speak the command and your smart home does the magic. However, the original AutoVoice background listening doesn’t work so perfectly. If you had tried, you will realise that your Android phone would kill the background listening task and your phone simply ignores you.

The good news is that recently, there are 2 major development that made background listening possible without rooting your phone:

I. Google Now Integration with Autovoice

You can now make use of Google Now to activate your tasker voice control and here’s how to:

  1. Open your phone’s Settings app.
  2. Tap “Accessibility.”
  3. Tap “AutoVoice Google Now Integration.”
  4. Tap the toggle at the top of the screen.
  5. In the dialog that pops up, tap “OK.”

This service may be in a different place in the Settings app, depending on your device. Once the listening service is enabled, you can start using your existing AutoVoice tasker profiles by saying “Ok Google, turn off dining and start movie”. With this, I’ve asked S.A.R.A.H (if you are new to my blog, check out the previous voice control) to go on sabbatical leave.

II. Google Now always listening can be activated from any screen for any (almost) Android phone

Activating Google Now without touching the phone has previously been a unique feature of the Moto X and Nexus phones. So the other good news is if your Android phone is running on KitKat, you are likely be able to activate this feature with the following steps:

  1. Make sure your Google app is updated to the latest version.
  2. If you’re not sure if you’re on the latest version, go to the Google app page on the Play Store and touch Update.
  3. Open the Google app .
  4. Scroll down to the bottom of the page.
  5. Touch Menu > Settings > Voice.
  6. Touch “Ok Google” detection.
  7. Check the box next to “From Google app” and “From any screen.”
  8. You’ll now be prompted to make Google respond to your voice. Say “Ok Google” three times to teach Google what your voice sounds like.
  9. After you’ve successfully said “Ok Google” three times, touch OK.

This should work for most Android phone running on KitKat. Please refer to this link for full details.

With these 2 latest development, you can say “Ok Google” from any screen, even the locked screen. On my phone, it does not reduce the battery life like the original AutoVoice background listening. One of my favourite use is to say “Ok Google, navigate home” when I’m using my bluetooth headset when driving. 🙂

Ok so again, here’s a video of everything in action.


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