“OK Google” support finally comes to Android Auto

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Android Auto’s cards view. (credit: Megan Geuss)

Android Auto is finally adding support for the “Ok Google” hotword. Auto launched nearly two years ago with a decent baseline of functionality, but it felt like a “beta” product thanks to a few missing features. The biggest was the absence of Google’s ubiquitous “Ok Google” hotword, which is present on Nexus and Pixel devices, Android Wear watches, Google’s Android and iOS apps, and the Google Home voice appliance. As a product designed to not distract you while you drive, the lack of a hands-free voice option was a big omission. Previously, you had to press a button on the screen or the steering wheel.

We haven’t seen an official announcement from Google, but the feature is starting to pop up for some users. Reddit user neo5468 was the first to spot the change and was nice enough to post a screenshot of the hotword’s new settings.

Android Auto “OK Google” support actually shows up in the Google app—not the Android Auto app—where under the “while driving” option you’ll see a new description that reads “Works in Google Maps and Android Auto.” The checkbox isn’t new, but the “Android Auto” mention is. The newest version of the Android Auto app, version 2.0.6427, seems to be a prerequisite for enabling the feature, but it’s not the only prerequisite. It seems there’s a server side component that needs to get enabled too. So if the hotword doesn’t work for you immediately, there isn’t much you can do other than wait for support to roll out to your account.

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