Google Assistant’s ‘Hey Google’ voice command now live

A man holds his smartphone which displays the Google home page.
(REUTERS/Regis Duvignau)

Google is introducing a new voice command to initiate its Google Assistant software. The company has started rolling out updates to Android phones so they can use the command “Hey Google,” which will launch the virtual assistant app.

The introduction of the new phrase gives Android users more flexibility in summoning the popular virtual assistant. After receiving the update, users will get a notification asking them to set up the voice model for the Google Assistant command.

After setting up the voice model, users will be able to use either “Hey Google” or the original phrase, “Ok Google,” to open Google Assistant. Android phones can listen for the command without pressing any buttons, and it even works when the screen is off on some devices.

Previously, Google Assistant could be opened by commanding Android phones with the phrase “Ok Google,” which was introduced along with Google Assistant. However, many users found the command a little awkward to say.

There were also many instances when the Android phone completely ignored the command or did not recognize it. This was observed more often when users were not native English speakers. With the rolling out of the “Hey Google” hotword, users may find launching the assistant via voice command a little bit easier.

Google started testing the “Hey Google” command back in October, when the feature appeared on a limited number of phones. Now, the technology giant appears to have gotten the results it needed from the testing phase and has decided to roll out the additional command to a wider audience.

Since its release, the home assistant “Google Home” has featured the “Hey Google” phrase as its hotword. With the introduction of the phrase to Android devices, users with both Google Home and an Android phone may find two software assistant devices answering their queries when they say “Hey Google.”