Nexus 5 Goes Touchless with “OK Google” Commands

October 31, 2013 - Written By Nick Sutrich

You may remember hearing about those awesome touchless controls from back in July when the Moto X was announced.  You may have even wanted them on your phone, and while there are a few hacks out there in development community, nothing is quite as good as an original.  Thankfully now you won’t just have to have a Moto X or one of the newest Motorola DROID phones on Verizon, but can also get touchless controls on the new Nexus 5.  Not only that but Google has apparently significantly improved voice controls in Google Now with the latest update that coincides with Android 4.4 KitKat.  According to Engadget users will now be able to set keywords to wake up the phone instead of always having to press that big fat power button on the side.  Android 4.4 KitKat and the newest Google Now update also allows Google Now to converse with you, meaning that the personal assistant feature that Samsung has been trying to build to rival Apple’s Siri looks to be coming to Google Now as well.  This means that Google now doesn’t just copy what Apple or Samsung have been trying to do, it also expands on what it already excelled at; giving you information you want before you even know you want it.

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Google isn’t just stopping there though; they have made significant improvements in speech recognition as well, citing up to 25% more accurate speech recognition than previous versions of Google Now.  Then there’s the new way to access Google Now, which has been changed from the swipe-up-from-home and replaced with swipe to the left of the screen, something that needs to be seen in action to truly understand.  Google has also built-in new types of contextual cards, which is something they’ve done in pretty much every Google Now update since its inception.  Google Now can now even display current user activity, so things like giving you movie times and TV show times have taken a whole new meaning.  Looking up restaurants or recipes will now have “deeper” linking, meaning that Google Now will use Open Table to see if that restaurant you’re searching for has room for you and your date, and will even display relevant recipe information all without having to navigate away from Now.  While all this new stuff is currently only on Android 4.4 KitKat (i.e. the Nexus 5), expect an update for everyone that has Google Now in the very near future.