Despite powering dashboards for at least two years, Android Auto lacked a Google service that is probably one of the most useful for driving, which is the OK Google voice command.
Interestingly, the feature had a low-key rollout. As of this writing, Google has not officially issued a statement announcing the update.
If not for Reddit user neo5468, the world would probably have trundled on, without ever noticing that the hotword is now available in the Android Auto app.
Finding The Voice Command Feature
Since there is no official word from Google, the public would probably have a hard time enabling the voice command feature because it is thoroughly buried in Android Auto and it is not even found on its system's settings.
You will have to open the Google app instead and navigate to the section that includes the "While driving" option. Once spotted, you will notice that it now has an updated description, which states that the app now "Works in Google Maps and Android Auto." The reference to Android Auto is new.
Users will be able to turn the OK Google feature under the "OK Google" detection menu. They should also make sure that the "While driving" option is enabled.
OK Google Availability
One should remember that the OK Google update for Android Auto seems to be rolling out in phases. This means that a large swath of users would not be seeing the change in their dashboard for several days or so.
The impatient lot can, however, manually install the firmware that contains it. The latest build is labeled as version 2.0.6427. It is now available for download at APK Mirror.
It is important to note that OK Google for Android Auto appears to include a server side switch. So while the latest Android Auto and Google applications are installed, there is a chance that it will still not work.
OK Google And Android Auto
Ideally, OK Google, should have been included in the Android Auto during its debut because it would have significantly contributed to achieving car safety by providing distraction-free driving experience.
The feature allows users access to a range of actions through voice commands. Drivers are able to open applications, set calendar appointments, write notes and even reply to emails and messages without using their hands.
Google has already announced that the functionality is heading to Android Auto during the Google I/O 2016. That event, however, took place last May and the waiting period that Android Auto users had to endure seems a lifetime in the fast-paced world of technology today.