How do I turn on Google Voice search?

What is Google Voice Search?

Google Voice Search allows users to speak natural language voice commands and queries to Google Assistant to find information online, instead of having to type a search on Google Search. When a user activates Google Assistant, usually by saying “Ok Google” or “Hey Google”, they can then speak their search terms or question out loud. Google Assistant’s speech recognition will interpret the audio, convert it to text, and then return relevant search results or answers verbally through the device’s speaker.

For example, a user could say “Ok Google, how tall is Mount Everest?”. Google Assistant would understand the query, search for the answer, and respond verbally with “Mount Everest is approximately 29,032 feet tall.” Voice search provides a hands-free and convenient way to access information quickly using natural speech.

Google has steadily improved its voice recognition capabilities over the years through advances in machine learning and artificial intelligence. Today, Google Assistant is available across smartphones, smart speakers, smart displays, Android TV, Android Auto and more, allowing users to search hands-free on a wide range of devices.

Why Use Voice Search?

Voice search provides a more natural and convenient way to search compared to typing on a mobile device or computer. Simply speaking your query is often faster and easier than trying to type it out, especially on smaller touchscreen devices. According to research from comScore, over half of smartphone users have used voice search, showing the growing adoption of this technology.

Voice assistants like Google Assistant, Siri, Alexa, and Cortana are designed to understand natural language voice queries. This means you can phrase your search as you would normally speak without having to rethink and reformulate it for typing. Voice search allows users to multitask more easily, searching hands-free while driving, cooking, cleaning, or doing other activities.

Enable Google Voice Search

To enable Google Voice Search on an Android device, you first need to open the Google app. The Google app comes pre-installed on most Android devices and has an icon that looks like the Google logo.

Here are the steps to open the Google app and enable Voice Search:

  1. Open the app drawer on your Android device and locate the Google app. Tap the icon to launch the app.
  2. In the Google app, tap your profile icon in the top right corner.
  3. In the menu, tap Settings.
  4. Under “General” tap Voice.
  5. Make sure “Hey Google” detection is turned on.
  6. You may also want to tap Voice Match and go through the voice training so Google Assistant can recognize your voice.

Once you have completed these steps, Google Voice Search is enabled and you can start using it by saying “OK Google” or “Hey Google” from most screens on your Android device. The Google Assistant will listen for your spoken search query or command.


Activate Voice Search

To activate Google’s voice search feature, you first need to tap the microphone icon in the Google search bar or on the Google homepage. This will prepare Google to listen for your voice query. According to, you can also activate voice search by saying “OK Google” or “Hey Google.”

Once you tap the mic icon or say the wake phrase, Google will begin recording your voice and converting it to text. You simply speak your search query aloud naturally. The microphone icon will turn red to indicate it is actively listening. As explained on, Google will automatically stop recording when you finish speaking.

Speak Your Search Query

When using voice search, be sure to speak your search query in a clear and natural voice. According to this article on voice search optimization, you’ll want to use natural language and match the conversational nature of voice queries. For example, you could say “Ok Google, how do I turn on voice search?” rather than a more robotic command. Speak at a moderate pace, pronounce words clearly, and don’t mumble. Give the voice assistant context if needed – for instance, specifying that you want to enable voice search for the Google app on your Android phone. Pay attention to the preview of your search terms shown on screen. If the voice recognition isn’t accurate, try rephrasing your question. With practice, you’ll get better at voice dictation and commanding your voice assistant.

View and Select Results

When you speak a search query to Google Assistant, the voice search results will appear on the screen of your device. The results are displayed visually, similar to typing a search query into the Google search bar.

You’ll see the familiar list of web results, along with featured snippets, knowledge panels, images, videos, and other relevant information. To select a search result, you can tap or click on it as you normally would.

The key difference with voice search is that Google Assistant will also read out the results aloud using speech synthesis. This allows you to get the results verbally without needing to look at the screen.

According to Google Support, when Google Assistant reads the results aloud, you can say “stop” at any time to interrupt it. You can then scroll through the results manually and tap to open a specific result.

Follow Up Questions

After receiving the initial search results from Google Voice Search, you can ask follow up questions to further refine the results. This allows you to have a natural conversation with Google Assistant without needing to repeat the wake phrase “OK Google” before each new query. Some examples of follow up questions include:

“What is the weather forecast tomorrow?”

“Show me nearby restaurants.”

“Give me directions to the closest gas station.”

You can ask Google Assistant as many follow up questions as you want in order to iteratively improve the results. According to this Slate article, Google has been working to make search more conversational by incorporating follow up questions into Google Assistant.

The key benefit of follow up questions is the ability to have a dialogue with Google Voice Search to quickly get the information you need without having to repeatedly activate it.

Voice Search Settings

You can customize various settings for Google Voice Search to tailor the experience to your preferences.

To access the settings, open the Google app and tap your profile icon. Then go to Settings > Voice > Voice Search.

Here you can select the voice gender and language you want Google Voice Search to use. Choose between male or female voices, as well as different English dialects or other languages like Spanish, French, German and more. This allows you to set Voice Search to speak in the voice and language you find most clear and understandable.

You can also adjust speech output and playback settings. Options include speaking at a faster or slower rate, playing sounds for voice queries and results, and muting Voice Search while media is playing. Tweaking these settings can optimize Voice Search to best fit your needs.

Additionally, you can enable hands-free and voice unlock features for added convenience when using Voice Search. And if you want to keep your voice searches private, there’s a toggle to turn off storing audio recordings.

So visit the Voice Search settings in your Google app to customize the experience in ways that work best for you. With the ability to tailor the voice, language, speech playback and more, you can configure Google Voice Search to be as personalized as possible (Source).

Privacy Considerations

When using Google Voice Search, it’s important to be aware that Google records and stores your voice searches. As stated in the PM-0741 GSM/UMTS Mobile Phone User Manual, “Google collects voice searches and audio to improve speech recognition across all languages.”

While this data helps Google improve its voice recognition capabilities, some users may be uncomfortable knowing Google has recordings of their voice and conversations. Before enabling Voice Search, consider whether you’re willing to allow Google to access and store this kind of personal data.

You can view and manage your stored voice recordings through your Google Account. But it’s not possible to use Voice Search without also letting Google store your voice searches.

Overall, using Voice Search requires trusting Google with recordings of your voice. Be sure to carefully review Google’s privacy policy and voice data terms before activating the feature.

PM-0741 GSM/UMTS Mobile Phone User Manual


If you are experiencing issues with Google Voice Search not working properly, there are a few troubleshooting steps you can try:

First, make sure your microphone permissions are enabled for Google. Go to your phone’s settings, then apps or application manager. Select the Google app and make sure microphone access is turned on. You may also need to check your general privacy settings and ensure microphone access is allowed.

Next, try rebooting or restarting your phone. This can help clear any glitches that may be preventing Voice Search from working. Power your phone off completely, wait 30 seconds, then turn it back on.

You can also try retraining the Voice model. Go to your Google app Voice Search settings and select “Retrain voice model.” Say “Ok Google” and “Hey Google” a few times to re-register your voice.

Check for any software or Android updates available for your device. Installing the latest updates can sometimes resolve Voice Search problems.

As a last resort, you may need to uninstall updates or clear cache and data for the Google app. This will reset Voice Search back to default settings. Just be sure to backup anything important first.

If Voice Search is still not working properly after trying these steps, you may need to contact Google support or your device manufacturer for further troubleshooting. There may be deeper hardware or software issues impacting the microphone and speech recognition system.

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