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Unlock secret Google Now features

Supercharge your Google Now with experimental cards and Moto X-style touchless controls

Screen shot 2014-11-24 at 11.06.20

Chances are you’re already familiar with the Google Now app, but if you’ve rooted your device, you can unlock additional Google Now features.

The first feature is experimental Google Now cards, including Artworks Nearby and Flight Price Monitor. Artworks Nearby helps you locate art-based activities, while Flight Price Monitor track any flights you’ve been browsing online, and notifies you of price changes. At the time of writing, there was also an Election Information card, which was later rolled out for the US Midterms.

This tutorial shows you how to unlock these cards ahead of their official rollout using UnleashTheGoogle. You’ll need a rooted device with ‘Unknown sources’ enabled in its Settings menu, and a file manager such as ES File Explorer.

The second feature is to add Moto X-style Touchless Controls, so you can launch Google Now from any screen, simply by speaking the “OK Google” command. You can then perform various tasks by issuing further vocal commands.

There are two ways to enable this ‘always listening’ mode. The easiest is to make changes inside your Google Now settings, although this method only works if your device’s language is set to US English. The other method is to use Open Mic+ for Google Now, and doesn’t require you to change your language settings. This app also includes some interesting options for customising your ‘always listening’ experience. In this tutorial we will cover both methods.

For more in-depth tutorials, make sure to check out the new issue of Android Magazine.

 

  1. Train Google Now

    Unleash Google

    Visit forum.xda-developers.com/att-galaxy-s5/themes-apps/unleash-google-hotword-detection-t2803261 and download the UnleashTheGoogle apk. Use a file manager such as ES File Explorer to find the downloaded file. Tap and select Install. Once installation is complete, launch UnleashTheGoogle.

  2. Explore Testing Options

    Perform a search

    Grant the app super user permissions, and UnleashTheGoogle will automatically close. For your changes to take effect, you need to restart Google Search, so swipe to Google Now and perform a quick Google Search. Then, tap your Recent apps button. Find Google Search in the list, and long-press on it.

  3. Restart Google Search

    Restart Google Search

    In the pop-up, tap App info and select Force stop. Exit the App info screen. Then, tap the Recent apps button again, find Google Search and remove it from the list by left-swiping. Launch Google Now and tap its three-dot menu icon. Select Settings and you’ll see some new options.

  4. experimental cards main

    Experimental Cards

    Tap Internal API cards and select Enable experimental cards. Make sure all Internal API cards are switched on. Return to the main Google Now screen for these changes to take affect. These experimental cards will now appear in your Google Now feed as and when they become relevant.

  5. internal api

    Google Now APIs

    To access more UnleashTheGoogle features, perform a search in Google Now. On the search results page, tap Google Now’s three-dot menu icon. You’ll notice some new options in the menu. To take a closer look at all the API actions available to Google Now, tap Testing.

  6. get more options

    Testing the options

    Take a look at the various options, but be aware that tapping any of them will perform the associated action – so approach buttons like Start video call with caution! Another tweak you can make, is to enable Google Now’s ‘always listening’ feature so it responds “Okay Google”.

  7. change language settings

    Language settings

    The easiest way to access this feature is by making some changes to your Google Now settings, so tap the app’s menu button and select Settings. Then, tap Voice followed by Languages and choose English (US). You can then select ‘OK Google Detection’ and enable ‘From any screen’.

  8. Force Stop

    From lockdown

    Read the information, then tap I agree. The final step is training Google Now to recognise your voice by saying “OK Google” three times and tapping OK. You may also wish to enable “OK Google” from your lockscreen, by returning to the OK Google Detection screen and selecting ‘From lockscreen’.

  9. Open Mic+

    Open Mic+

    Another way to enable “OK Google” from any screen is to download Open Mic+ for Google Now from the Google Play store. One advantage of using this app, is that you can replace “OK Google” with a phrase of your own. Launch the application, tap Say and type your new hot phrase.

  10. Enabling Wave Detection

    Using Wave Detection

    Another Mic+ option to explore is launching Google Now by waving in front of your device’s camera. To enable this feature, tap the Wave Detection slider so it’s in the On position. You can also change the number of times you need to wave, and in what period of time.

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