Google May Soon Let You Use Assistant Without the Annoying “OK Google” Hotword

Posted on January 30, 2018 by Mehedi Hassan in Google with 29 Comments

Google is trying to bring its Assistant smart assistant to almost all of your smart gadgets. The company recently introduced a wide range of updates to Assistant hardware and software as it continues to track down Amazon Alexa. And now, the company could be introducing a huge change to Assistant, starting with phones.

According to 9to5Google, recent versions of the Google app on Android includes a new, hidden code that lets users add their custom hotword for waking up their device. Right now, you can use either the “Hey Google” or “Ok Google” hotword to activate the assistant, with the latter being incredibly annoying to use as you continue to use Assistant more frequently. So instead of having to use these hotwords, you will soon be able to setup your own, custom hotword for waking up Assistant.

You’ll need to train Assistant to be able to recognize your custom hotword, and chances are the accuracy of the hotword recognization won’t be as good as the default Hey Google and Ok Google hotwords. But still, it is something.

For now, though, it seems like Google will be bringing the feature first to phones, but it will most likely come to all devices running Assistant, especially the company’s Home smart speakers.

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Comments (29)

29 responses to “Google May Soon Let You Use Assistant Without the Annoying “OK Google” Hotword”

  1. Bats

    How hard would it be for good Google Home to learn "Computer.". "Computer, what is the temperature outside?"

    • Chris_Kez

      In reply to Bats:

      I think lots of people would like that. I seem to recall reading that these wake phrases tend to work better if they are longer and/or uncommon. One concern might be that the word "computer" could be a relatively higher frequency word among the target population of smart assistant early-adopters. :)

    • johnbaxter

      In reply to Bats:

      To quote from a recent Apple ad for the iPad: "What's a computer?"

      (It is alleged that the Green Acres show on CBS was going to be "The Eddie Albert Show" until a Vice President asked "What's an Eddie Albert?")

  2. HellcatM

    I'd still like to see Microsoft or Google make it so you can make your own hotword for the assistant. If I want to say "hal, whats the weather like" I can. Or I can take a page from Star Trek and just say "computer". Why not? Would be fun.

  3. sdahnke1

    Harry. I want mine to be Harry.

  4. RM

    Someday you will just have to say "Computer, where is Number One?"

  5. Jack Smith

    I use "hey Google" which I find far easier to say than "ok Google". One thing you need to be careful about is our Echo gets triggered a lot more often than the Google Homes by accident. Based on this we will probably just leave the default hot word on the Google Homes. Plus I have a big family and everyone at this point knows what it is.

    But the people that have had a problem with saying Google in the hot word can now change it. We started with the Echo and since replaced with the Google Homes and the GH is just far easier to interact with. Echo requires rigid language or basically commands you have to memorize versus the Google Home you can in most cases just say things however they pop up in your head.

  6. Tony Barrett

    I always use 'Hey Google', which you get very used to, and it's still only 3 syllables, like A-lex-a or Cor-ta-na, so no great shakes. It will be nice to have a feature where you can set your own hotword though. I think this will make it feel a lot more personal, so I think Google are on the right track.

  7. olavgm

    I'm going to set my hotword to "Alexa".

  8. wright_is

    Mine reacts to just "OK". Often when talking to people and I say OK, my phone starts chirping and clamoring for attention.

  9. Todd Northrop

    This is the best feature they could possibly add. Saying “OK Google” is a non-starter for me. Besides being a mouthful to say, I don’t want to say hello to an organization every time I make a request from my device.

  10. Oasis


  11. Pbike908

    I like it! It creeps me out to say "OK Google" as it reminds me how Google stores my every freaking query when using the internet and tracks my every movement and action on my Android phone. I'm not particularly paranoid, as I have read up on what it is i do. It would just make it a lot easier to use a voice assistant if I didn't have to say a companies name...I know it's silly...But hey I just don't want to be reminded of Big Data's omnipresence.

  12. jimchamplin

    It’s not really that annoying. :/

  13. Matt Lohr "Hello, computer!"

    • SvenJ

      In reply to Matt Lohr: Computer is one of the selectable hot words on Echo. The key is to use a word that is distinctive and not commonly used, by you, the radio, the TV... Computer is not that. None of my options, and I have Echo's, Siri (iPhone/iPad), Google (Home mini, Pixel) and Cortana (PCs and Invoke) are selective enough not to react to other sources of their name besides me. The TV is constantly triggering these things. Was setting up an Echo Spot this weekend, and it has a cute video about using it which used it's name a lot. My Show, which was nearby, kept trying to respond. I'm hoping they all start allowing them to be re-named, and individually.

  14. MikeFromMarkham

    So "OK Google" is annoying, but "Hey, Cortana" is not? Rubbish.

  15. Thomas Parkison

    Yeah sure... let's make it so that it listens to everything. That would be great. /sarcasm

  16. zybch

    I use 'hey google' with my home/home mini devices. I like that its more a command than a subservient request.

    I'd still prefer it to be something I specify rather than a sycophantic phrase every time though.