Ok Google
The ‘Ok Google’ voice activation in the Google Now launcher is an impressively responsive feature, and according to a rumour from Android Police, Google is looking to bring the feature to more Google Apps in the future.

The feature would mainly be found in Nexus and Google Play Edition (GPe) devices, which is in line with the current ‘official’ availability of the Google Now Launcher. Voice commands could feature in all sorts of circumstances such as the ‘Photos’ app where you could for example issue the command ‘Ok Google, share this photo’, which could bring up a dialogue that offers options on where to share the photo to.

Along with the voice actions, there’s a hint of new navigation keys being worked on, which could co-incide with the introduction. According to Android Police, Google is looking to replace the Home key with a ‘Google’ button, this new button would trigger a search prompt in whichever app or location you are in. Google is also looking to replace the ‘Multi-tasking’ soft key with a ‘Recents’ button, the recents button would then allow you to access the home screen by swiping to the right. The Back button would retain the same look and function.
Back - Google - Recents

Android Police aren’t 100% sure about this, both the size and scope of the changes are understandably a massive undertaking, especially with some Android OEMs only just beginning to adopt the multi-tasking button. There would also be a massive shift in the way that people interact with and navigate around Android. The question must be asked is such a paradigm change warranted?

Source: AndroidPolice.
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    The problem with this, is that Google are looking at stomping their search engine access over the top of the existing Android navigation keys.
    This type of thing is every bit as bad as what Samsung does with TouchWiz and HTC does with Sense, bury access to Android itself.
    If Google was looking at going to a four navigation key layout, where the fourth key was Google, then it would be less of a problem, as the existing and expected navigation keys would still be there.


    Maybe Google is indeed looking at going with four keys. Who knows? There’s no point reading into this rumour too much just yet. All sorts of concepts and ideas would get thrown around the Android team table – that’s how the experience we know and love today came to be. The OS will never progress without big, bold and controversial ideas.

    Let’s just wait and see before we get too carried away.

    Iain Simmons

    I think it’s a reasonable idea. There’s plenty of people using Android phones from OEMs that don’t really realise/care that they’re using Google’s Android. That’s mostly because companies like Samsung slap their brand on everything. I don’t see how it’s any different if Google sticks theirs on the Nexus and GPe devices to do the same and highlight one of their strengths (search) at the same time. Also, thinking logically, this could also indicate a shift away from the dependence on a home screen setup and a move towards a point where whenever you need to do something on your… Read more »


    Make it more difficult, in the OS, to get to our homescreen? What are Google thinking?
    That idea is a You Fail.

    Sean Royce

    Please stop.


    Haha agreed.


    It hasn’t even been announced yet. It could change significantly or never see the light of day at all.