How to control your Android device with the sound of your voice

The power of Google and Google Now on your Android device is incredible. Many of you who use Android already take advantage of the many features associated with the tools provided to you on your smartphone or tablet, but you not know the full power of what it can really do.

It’s easy to stick with what you already know how to do, and avoid the latest features that are built into the latest version of Android. We’re here to help point some of those most useful features out to you. These instructions are especially helpful if you’re driving, cooking, or doing something that keeps your hands tied up. It’s time you learned the power of Google commands and questions.

These voice commands are not limited to Nexus devices. Samsung, LG, HTC, Sony and other Android device manufacturers can all access the power of Google’s voice commands.

Just say what you need.

Talk instead of type to get what you want. Ask follow-up questions too.

google now

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Turn on “Ok Google” 

  1. Make sure you have the latest version of the Google app. (To get the latest version, go to the Google app page on the Play Store and touch Update).
  2. Open the Google app .
  3. In the top left corner of the page, touch the Menu icon menu icon > Settings > Voice > “Ok Google” detection.
  4. Check the box next to “From Google app.”

For certain devices, you can also change some settings to turn on “Ok Google” detection outside the Google app:

  1. Check the box next to “From any screen” or “Always on.”
  2. Follow the instructions to teach Google what your voice sounds like.
    Note: “Always on” isn’t supported in all languages. If you’re unable to turn this feature on, your language may not be supported.

Once “Ok Google” is turned on you can start to ask your phone questions or give it instructions.

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“Ok Google” settings you can change

When you turn on “Ok Google,” there are a few settings you might be able to change depending on your device. Here’s what the terms mean:

  • From any screen: You can say “Ok Google” from any screen on your device if the screen is on or the device is charging.
  • Always-on: You can say “Ok Google” whether your screen is on or off on a Nexus 6, Nexus 9, or Samsung Note 4 device.
  • Trusted voice: When you say “Ok Google” from a secure lock screen and we’re able to recognize the sound of your voice, you can ask Google to do things for you or visit sites without having to unlock your device.
  • Personal results: See personal results for your voice searches, even when your device is locked.
  • Retrain voice model: Reteach Google the sound of your voice. Try this if Google isn’t recognizing your voice when you say “Ok Google.” If you don’t see this setting, make sure “From any screen” or “Always-on” is turned on.
  • Delete voice model: Delete the voice model that Google uses to recognize your voice.

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Calendar, alarms, reminders, & information

Set an alarm: “Set an alarm for 7 AM” or “Set an alarm for every Friday morning at 7 AM.”

Set a reminder: “Remind me to call John at 6 PM” or “Remind me to buy Apples at the grocery store”

See SMS (text) messages: “Show me my messages from Brian about dinner.”

Create a Google Calendar event: “Create a calendar event for dinner in San Francisco, Saturday at 7 PM.”

See your upcoming bills: “My bills” or “My Comcast bills 2013.”

Check your schedule: “What’s my day look like tomorrow?” or “When’s my next meeting?”

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Communicate with friends & family

Call a friend: “Call Lindsay Hampson” or “Call Mom.”

Text a friend: “Text Jason that I’m running 5 minutes late.”

Send a Hangouts chat message: “Send a Hangouts message to Bob” or “Start a Hangouts chat.”

Start a Hangouts video call: “Start a video call” or “Video call Jane using Hangouts.”

Send an email: “Send an email to Kristin, subject new shoes, message, I can’t wait to show you my new shoes, full stop.”

Check your voicemail: “Listen to voicemail.”

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Directions & travel


Get directions: “Navigate to Safeway” or “Directions to 1299 Colusa Avenue Berkeley California.”

Find nearby places: “Where’s the closest coffee shop?”

Plan your trip: “What are some attractions in New York City?”

Look up travel plans: “Show me my flights” or “Where’s my hotel?”

Book a table: “Book a table for 2 at Morton’s on Wednesday night at 8pm.”

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Facts & quick answers

Find the time: “What time is it in London?”

Check the weather: “Do I need a jacket today?” or “What’s the weather like tomorrow morning?”


Answer trivia questions: “Where was Albert Einstein born?” or “How old is Beyonce?”

Calculate the tip: “What’s the tip for 42 dollars?”


Translate words or phrases: “How do you say cucumber in Spanish?”


Define a word: “What does gluttony mean?”

Convert between units: “What’s 16 ounces in pounds?”

Solve a math problem: “What’s the square root of 2209?”

Track a package from your Gmail order confirmation: “Where’s my package?”

Search within apps on your device: “Search for thai food on Yelp.”

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Change your device’s settings

Wi-Fi: “Turn on Wi-Fi” or “Turn off Wi-Fi.”

Bluetooth: “Turn on Bluetooth” or “Turn off Bluetooth.”

Flashlight: “Turn on my flashlight” or “Turn my flashlight off.”

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If you want to learn more commands head on over to the Google help page. Otherwise try giving some of these commands a try and be amazed at the power of your Android device.

Google Play Store LINK

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