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Offline voice commands start showing up for some in the Google app

Derek Walter | Sept. 30, 2015
Even if you're in airplane mode or out of network range, you may be able to issue commands to open Gmail, play music, turn on Wi-Fi, and crank up the volume.

google app new logo
Credit: Derek Walter

Google may have snuck some offline voice commands into its Android app.

We caught a hint that these were coming back in June. Now some are finding that if their device is offline, they’ll see a list of commands they can still use in connection with “OK, Google.

offline google
You may be able to talk to your phone, even if it doesn’t have an Internet connection. Credit: Android Police

The update appears to be something Google enabled on the back end, as I was unable to see these features on a Galaxy Note 5 or Moto X Pure Edition with the latest version of the Google app APK. If you don’t see it either, you may just have to wait for gods of Mountain View to flip the right switch. 

However, you probably have the following tweak already to the Google Now Launcher (by all indications, updates to this now come through the Google app): touching the apps button now presents all your apps in a vertical scrolling list. Same thing with widgets: they’re grouped together and no longer appear in an endless string of pages. 

google app drawer
You can search and scroll through the app drawer if you use the Google Now Laucher.

Google also groups your most recently-used apps at the top and includes a search bar. You can get to search quickly by holding down the app launcher button.

The impact on you: If you don’t see these yet, hang tight. Google often sends out updates through its app without requiring you to grab a new APK. It’s another way for Google to push out new features without waiting for carriers and manufacturers to drag their feet with Android updates.


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