Always-on listening is super convenient in the car, so it’s only logical that Google is working on making it easier to invoke while driving. Android Police reports that the company is experimenting with a revamped car interface – referred to internally as KITT, or “Android Eyes Free” – that relies on the “Ok, Google” hotword and hand gestures for interaction.
The most exciting part of the project is the extension of always-on listening beyond the homescreen. Like the Moto X, Google plans to enable screen-off hotword detection, meaning “Ok, Google” will wake your device from any state and take you right to Google Search. To save on battery, always-on listening may initially require your device be plugged in and charging to activate, but devices with always-on listening chips could avoid that limitation.
Voice isn’t the only way you will be able to activate Search. It can reportedly be configured for use with Bluetooth devices and headsets, and even activated with the wave of a hand.
Another aspect of Google’s car mode is voice feedback in more places, although the specifics are in flux. In addition to all incoming notifications, Search will apparently read aloud the content of Google Now cards. Text-heavy results like web searches may result in a prompt to save them for later, when reading is safer.
If all goes according to plan, enabling these features will be as simple as checking boxes within Search settings. That day may be a long ways off, but the prospect of a worthy Car Home replacement is beyond exciting.