Updated Google Search app lets you 'OK Google' from any screen

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Google is just full of surprises during this year's Google I/O. In addition to the avalanche of new product announcements Wednesday, Google also rolled out an update to the Google Search app for Android with beefed up "OK Google" hotword detection.

The new app, version 3.5.14, offers almost Moto X-like hotword detection. With the update, and a modern Android device, you can use "OK Google" inside other apps as well as from the lock screen, according to Droid-Life. Previously, the OK Google voice feature only worked from the Android home screen.

The new app is rolling out now so we haven't had a chance to test it yet. One issue that isn't clear is whether the new feature works inside third-party apps or only Google's. It appears, however, the new hotword detection should work inside any app.

Screenshots published by Droid-Life show options for your phone to respond to "OK Google" whenever your screen is simply on or your phone is charging.

To see if you have the new features, go into the Google Now screen, tap the menu icon, and navigate to Settings > Voice > "Ok Google" Detection. If the new features are available you'll see options to activate hotword detection from the lock screen and inside apps.

Beefing up hotword detection for Android appears to be a stepping stone to an even more robust version of "OK Google" coming in Android L. Expected to land in the fall, Android L includes hardware-assisted hotword detection. That capability will allow the same powerful features the Moto X has, such as hotword detection even when the screen is off.

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