Google Working on Moto X-style Touchless Control for All Devices

June 1, 2014 - Written By Jeremiah Nelson

Touchless Control on the Moto X is one of the most helpful features of the device. Some of us have locked onto the Moto X and don’t want to upgrade to a new device because of this feature. I can’t think of another device that handles always-on listening as well as the Moto X. I would love to see that functionality come to other devices. Google understands that, and according to a new rumor from Android Police, they are working on that very thing.

The rumor is this: Google is actively developing a system to allow your device to listen to you all the time and return Search results in a safe and helpful way, using just your voice and ears. Android Police gives this rumor a 9/10 on the Scale of believability, which says a lot. Google is almost definitely working on this functionality. They want all users to be able to access Search without ever toughing their devices. This is something specifically being developed for use in the car, on a bike, or in other situations when it’s unsafe to be looking at your phone. They’re calling it KITT or “Android Eyes Free” internally. The reference to “Knight Rider” isn’t lost on us. Artificial intelligence is the goal, and Google is going to get us as close as possible with what we have right now.

Google wants Search to be available all the time, no matter what screen you’re looking at and even when you’re not looking at your device at all. This always-on listening may be limited to times when you’re screen is on and when you’re screen is off but your device is plugged in and charging. Most phones and tablets don’t have the capability or battery life to handle true always-on listening, so this would be a good compromise. In the car, Google is working to develop a simple interface that don’t distract you from what you’re doing, but will also provide you with Search functionality. This may include gesture controls like waving you hand over your device to activate the voice controls, and then reading results back to you. Google may also decide to act on your behalf in situations where you can’t pick up your phone, like automatically sending message replies or making other decisions for you.

“Android Eyes Only” would be opt-in, like Google Now itself. Its features could be toggled on or off. Google is taking their time and really experimenting with how this should work. We’re really excited about it.