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Nova Launcher Update Adds “OK, Google” Hotword Detection, Other Beta Features

Nova Launcher 3.0 “stable” is rolling out to all on Google Play, this afternoon, bringing with it the list of new beta features that were introduced a week ago. The update one-ups the beta, though, by bringing with it “OK, Google” hotword detection from home screens. That means you can say “OK, Google” from any home screen and launch a voice search – no need to tap in a search box or on a microphone.

After updating at the link below, you can activate “OK, Google” by heading into Nova settings, tapping on the “OK, Google” option, and then checking the box to enable it.

Play Link

  • Anon

    Cool feature for most phones.

    I tried it, but like the “OK, Google Now” option on my Droid MAXX. Turning this on in Nova Launcher overrides the personal experience offered by the Droids, and probably the Moto X.

    For everyone else, it’s really cool.

  • monkey god

    ANyone try to use this when the phone is in slsep mode? It activates but then just leaves a “google search” notification for me and crashes whenver i click on the notification.

  • kfestus

    I’d love to be able to say something other than “Ok, Google” as the hotword. Maybe next version of Nova Launcher will have option to say whatever I want.

    • PoisonApple31

      “Ok, Sugarpuss.”

    • DanSan

      one thing im jealous of iphone users is the ability to train Siri to call you by whatever name you want. my friend had his call him, motherf*cker jones.. loved it.

  • Buggy for me. Doesn’t pop up after I speak. Also is it supposed to work with screen off? It recognizes my voice and dings but doesn’t speak or wake screen

    • monkey god

      It works but not 100% time. It activates with the screen off but all it does is beep and then leave a “google search” notification. When you click on the notification, Nova will crash and restart.

  • JD


  • I can’t wait for apex launcher to get this

  • RoadsterHD1

    What and how does this affect the new Droids and Moto X that is always listening and basically already has this feature? Please advise

    • Tom Z

      I was wondering the same thing…

    • IcerC

      I can already say Ok google so I don’t know why I’d turn it on. Keep it off and it won’t effect it.

  • Jeremy Gross

    got it, will it affect battery life???

  • Jeremy Gross

    i just updated, nothing

  • Jhan-Michael Lyons

    My question is… is it really always listening? and will that slaughter my battery life….? :-/

    • RoadsterHD1

      If it is always listening then I would say yes it will use more battery than normal cause its using the whole processor instead of a dedicated low power processor like it the new Droids and Moto X. Right?

  • antwonw

    This just in. Google bought Teslacoil Software. /s

  • Mordecaidrake

    Works like a charm on the Verizon S4!

    • Drummer62

      I still get the icon as if it is not listening but when I speak it does hear it and open but it seems to take a little longer than if you were in the search app already. Seems a little buggy still. The description claims the icon is supposed to be an outline when in a noisy environment or when on a call but mine seems to be an outline no matter what.

  • Suman Gandham

    It’s a bit buggy… always seems to detect the hotword, but what actually happens after that seems like a lottery. Some times nothing, sometimes search opens but nothing happens, sometimes just makes the Voice noises but nothing happens!

  • coolsilver


  • crazed_z06

    And still!! .. Undefeated champion of launchers….

    • Suman Gandham

      Completely agree 😀

    • feztheforeigner

      Until that LauncherPro rewrite!

      • apackofmonkeys


  • Jordan Dewey

    Thanks for the heads up! I thought my G2 was the perfect phone except for the missing Moto X features (and now laser autofocus thanks to the G3), but with this Nova update and AcDisplay, I couldn’t be happier!

    • shelderman

      Not quite Moto X. You can’t Ok Google from a black screen or from the lock screen.

      • morgan boyle

        its easier to say than “OK, Google Now” so thats a start. i dont know why but i feel like adding “Now” messes me up.

      • Jordan Dewey

        True but with acdisplay, all it takes is a swipe on the screen if the screen is already on (as if i just took it out of my pocket). If not, then OK Google is just a douple tap and a swipe away. At least i can do that while walking by my phone without ever picking it up or looking for the power button.

  • jasenm

    Anyone getting this to work on Moto X? For the life of me I cant figure it out.

    • Mike Aurin

      Did you update the app first? Then just go into settings. Google Now’s hot word detection has its own line in the settings screen.

      • jasenm

        Yes thanks Mike. I did update and made sure that was checked. I also disables Motorolas built in Touchless control. Still nothing… hmmm..

        • morgan boyle

          im on MOto X and it worked without a single hiccup.

          • jasenm

            Man I dont know what Im missing. Do you have touchless control disabled? I miss my Nexus 5 where I could just say Ok Google without having to use Motorolas touchless control. Any help would be appreciated.

          • morgan boyle

            touchless control is ENABLED. i would suggest a quick NOVA backup then uninstall and reinstall.

  • epps720

    Love Nova!

  • xzero425x

    Ive had prime for a long time now, and still havent gotten any new update from nova 🙁

    • Hothfox

      You had to have subscribed to the beta channel to get the beta updates. Sounds like this is a stable release, though, so you should see this one.

  • TruEastSydeBoi

    Works flawlessly and instantly on my G2. I’m running Mahdi

  • Pete Arado

    Oh man, this was the one thing that was keeping me on the stock launcher – may have to reconsider now.

  • Ray

    I mentioned this before but you can get OK Google working with any Google app with this xposed modulehttp://forum.xda-developers.com/xposed/modules/mod-ok-google-3rd-party-launchers-t2765635

    • gambit07

      Thanks!! Never would have seen this otherwise, that works perfect on Apex. Actually you can use it to launch from pretty much any app, very cool

      • Ray

        What apps besides Google ones and your launcher were you able to get it working with? I find that it will work with other apps a few times then quites

        • gambit07

          I use it in hangouts as well and haven’t had any issues so far, haven’t really tried with anything else

    • WK

      holy crapballs. did not know about this. was wondering when Apex was gonna implement this feature but now i don’t need to.

      • Ray

        Yep no problem follow the developer on Google + he has some pretty cool modules

  • Chris Choncek

    Hopefully someone will report back to us on how much this reduces battery life since it has to be “always listening”.

    • Fresh360

      The 801 has an always listening core, correct me if I am wrong, so battery drain should be negligible since its built into the chip…As far as older hardware I will jump out there and say maybe as much as a live wallpaper.

    • Ray

      been running it for over a week havent noticed any difference in battery performance

    • Suman Gandham

      It’s only always listening when the phone is active though, right? So the battery hit when the tablet is idle / locked should be zero?

  • canavi

    Its a little laggy popping up on my n5 sometimes, but I’m glad to have it, Its the one thing I missed about GEL.

    • MichaelFranz

      yea i agree, same on the S5. Im happy with it, at least it is done and will only improve

      • Mike Aurin

        Everything’s a little laggy with your S5…

        • MichaelFranz

          funny…but no its not. not on mine. Just like any phone it has an issue form time to time, but i havent had all this lag. I also tweeked my settings to my liking.

        • Suman Gandham

          LOL. Good trolling skills 😀

    • Serotheo

      There’s a delay before if pops into the Google app, but the voice dictation part seems spot on at least, that is it responds instantly (if it catches you of course).

  • bill

    is a moto x or nexus 5 necessary?

    • PoisonApple31

      No, I am using it on a Note 3.

  • T4rd

    Never cared much for this, but I’ll try it out, I guess. I have a swipe-up action on my app drawer icon to activate voice search that has been adequate for me.

    • PoisonApple31

      That’s exactly how I use Google Now w/Nova Launcher.

      • Menger40

        Me three, but I appreciate one less step in the process as long as the battery hit isn’t too bad.

        • ddd

          It’s easier to swipe than to say, ‘ok Google’

    • Suman Gandham

      I have swipe up going to quick settings, two finger swipe down to full settings, two finger swipe up to Nova settings and double tap to voice search.

      Nova home screen gestures FTW!

      • DanSan

        i have mine set to double tap screen for google now. i hardly use it though so i wont be turning this one. i also have swipe actions on the app icons themselves on my home screens. for example, swipe up on google maps and it automatically gives me directions home and starts the navigation.

  • jrgray27

    This is what I needed to go back to Nova Launcher. “Merica!”

    • Robert Johnson

      No, that’s not one of the launchwords.

  • FarmerTechno

    Yes! This was the only thing that kept me from switching back from GEL. Now I’m all in!

    • El_Big_CHRIS

      Def a great addition. But I just love the way GEL does wallpaper/widgets, I always disliked how Nova/Apex do that. GEL with xposed is fine with me.

  • Ben Murphy

    Yuss! Finally!

  • Shane Redman

    Almost ready to go back from GEL…what’s to the far left?

    • Jeff Miller

      Yep, Im waiting for Google Now on the left to return to Nova

      • What’s the difference between that and swiping up from the home button for you?

        For me, there’s none.

        • Jeff Miller

          Thats like saying I like white status bar but you like the older blue. Personal preference is what matters to me.

          • That’s fine. I’m not being critical. I was just curious. If that’s your preference, then have at it!

        • Shane Redman

          Yeah, it’s just preference. I have a droid maxx (capacitive buttons) so, in my mind, coming from the gnex (on screen buttons) it’s not the same experience. The swipe to the left just “feels” right.

        • Rodeojones000

          I agree with you.

        • Anhstein

          There’s actually a small difference. Swiping from anywhere on the screen is slightly easier than swiping from a specific button (especially when you have a weird button layout like on the HTC One). When I play around with a Nexus, I find that I end up randomly landing on (and therefore using) Google Now more often. Although that might have something to do with my weird habit of constantly swiping home screens as well 😀

          • Robert Johnson

            For me on Nexus, Google Now triggers sweeping up from anywhere on the bottom amongst the on-screen buttons.

            There is an arc that appears when you do it, swiping from within it is what works.

      • It’s weird to me that Nova doesn’t even have a setting to set a swipe right gesture at all. I was going to set that to launch Google Now, but had to settle for swiping up.

        • It would conflict with swiping between screens.

          • Oh, duh. Guess I forgot that since I usually only have one homescreen.

      • brkshr

        It’s not going to work as seamlessly. Google Now on the the left of the GNL (GEL) works so smoothly because GNL is the Google Now application. They are one and the same. The added functionality of the ‘launcher’ is just enabled with Google Now Launcher app.

        So, basically, Nova would need to keep Google Now running at all times, as well as the Nova launcher, to keep any sort of seamlessness. Otherwise, it will basically just open Google Now when you go to the left, which is in no way going to be as smooth as it is on the GNL.

      • Eric R.

        Just set up a swipe right gesture

      • crazed_z06

        Can you just make a homescreen with the Google Now Widget?

        • DanPatrickFlores

          I did that for a short time, but the widget looked odd because it had small cards and some of those wouldn’t populate, so I’d have a lot of empty space on a whole homescreen.

    • emrikol

      Heck, I’d even pay for Nova again, just for this feature. Dare I say… in-app purchase?

      • Shane Redman

        I don’t know about pay AGAIN. Haha…just because we uninstall doesn’t mean we need to pay AGAIN

        • emrikol

          I just feel like the developer should be rewarded for their additional development. I feel like I’ve gotten my … uhm, 25 cents out of it. I guess I bought it on sale in 2012. Now I feel even worse.

          • Shane Redman

            very true, I’m sure donations are welcome if you looked hard enough

          • emrikol

            You’re right. It looks like I can probably “buy” it again via PayPal on novalauncher.com