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How To Use “OK Google” on Your Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge

Posted by William Sattelberg on June 1, 2017

Voice commands seem to be the hottest trend in technology right now. Between Apple’s Siri assistant, Amazon’s line of Alexa-enabled devices, and Samsung’s new Bixby service on the Galaxy S8, it seems every company in tech wants to be in the voice-assistant game. If you’re rocking a Galaxy S7 or S7 edge, there’s no better assistant technology than Google’s own Assistant service built into Android. With Assistant, you can send texts, make phone calls, set alarms and reminders, and so much more. And of course, you can do it all just by using the key phrase “OK Google” to launch the service.

Unfortunately, there are some limitations to Google Assistant on your Galaxy S7. So, if you want to know all about how to enable and use voice commands on your phone, you’ve come to the right place. There’s a few steps necessary to start using the “OK Google” command, so let’s jump right into the guide and get Google Assistant up and running on your device.

Disable S Voice on Your Device

As I mentioned above, Samsung has developed a new assistant on the Galaxy S8 called “Bixby.” But on the S7 and earlier phones, Samsung had a different voice service called “S Voice.” Unfortunately, S Voice never worked very well—and interfered with Google’s previous voice assistant, Google Now, from which Google Assistant evolved—so if you’ve decided to start using Google Assistant on your device, you’re better off just disabling S Voice in your settings. Luckily, it’s really easy to do just that.

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Open your settings menu either by launching it from your app drawer or by using the shortcut in your notification tray. Once you’re inside the settings menu, scroll down to the “Phone” category and select “Apps.” If you’re using the simplified settings layout, you’ll find “Apps” has its own category. Once you’re inside the apps menu, tap “Application manager.” This will load a list of every application installed on your phone, both by Samsung and user-installed apps from the Play Store. Scroll down to the “S” section (the list is organized in alphabetical order by default) and you should find an app called “S Voice.” Tap its menu icon.

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Once you’re on the application page for S Voice, you’ll see two buttons at the top of the screen: “Disable” and “Force Stop.” Tap “Disable” on the left. You’ll receive a pop-up notification informing you that disabling built-in apps may cause errors in other apps. Tap “Disable” to continue the process, and S Voice will now display an “Enable” icon where “Disable” previously was. This means the application has been disabled on your device. If, for any reason, you do have to re-enable the application, you can follow these exact instructions, tapping the “Enable” button to restore functionality to the application. If you tap the back button on your device, you’ll see that S Voice now displays a “Disabled” tag on its menu bar, designating the app’s functionality and usage has been disabled on your device.

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Enable OK Google Support on Your S7

With S Voice disabled, we’re good to go ahead and set up OK Google support on your S7. Start by opening the Google application on your device, either using the widget on your home screen or by launching the Google app from within your app drawer. Tap the triple-lined menu bar in the top-left corner of your screen to view the menu drawer, and select “Settings.” From here, there are two different ways to view the voice settings for Google Assistant. Either you can tap the “Settings” menu underneath “Google Assistant,” or you can tap “Voice” under the “Search” category. If you select Google Assistant Settings, you’ll need to tap “‘OK Google’ Detection” from the “Adjust settings for this device” menu. If you select the Voice options, you’ll find the “‘OK Google’ Detection” option near the top of the menu. Either way, select that menu.

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From here, you’ll want to enable “Say ‘OK Google’ any time” from the menu. This will take you to Google Assistant’s setting page, and lead you through training the Assistant to recognize your voice. You’ll need to say “OK Google” three times in a row in a quiet environment for the device to learn your voice. Once you’ve done this, you’ll be prompted with the option to turn on Trusted Voice, which will allow you to use the voice prompt when your phone is locked. Unfortunately, this capability it a bit limited on the Galaxy S7 line of phones, but we’ll talk more about that in a bit. For now, hit Done at the bottom of the screen. You may be prompted to give your fingerprint or PIN if you’ve selected to use Trusted Voice. Following this, you’ll be returned back to the Voice settings display inside Google.

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Testing “OK Google”

Now that you’ve enabled and trained your voice with Google, you should be able to activate Google Assistant from any display on your Galaxy S7. To test this, hit the Home button to head back to your home screen. Without touching the screen, practice saying “OK Google,” just as you had when setting up your voice command in the step prior to this. Your phone should make a small tone, a white border will surround the screen, and a prompt will rise from the bottom of the display with a chat bubble interface. If this works, you’ve successfully trained and enabled Google Assistant on your device. You can also open Google Assistant by pressing and holding the Home Button on any screen.

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If Google Assistant doesn’t open on your device, make sure you’ve properly trained OK Google detection by repeating the previous steps. Also make sure your Google application is up to date, and that your Galaxy S7 has been updated to support Google Assistant. If you haven’t updated your phone in a while, you may have a system update waiting for you inside the settings menu. You can check this by going to the bottom of your settings display and tapping the “System updates” menu.

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You will also want to make sure your language settings are set to English inside the “Voice” menu in Google. If they aren’t, you might run into issues when trying to activate Google Assistant. Finally, if you find the voice model only works occasionally, don’t be afraid to re-train Assistant on how your voice sounds.

Limitations on the Galaxy S7

As I mentioned above, Trusted Voice doesn’t work very well on Samsung’s smart phones. Though most phones have the capability to enable and unlock their phones based on the phrase “OK Google,” Samsung has disabled the function on their Galaxy-series of phones—and, unfortunately, there isn’t much to be done about it. If you try using Trusted Voice on your phone while its display is locked, nothing will happen. Your phone will just sit there, lifeless. This isn’t because of anything wrong with your phone; it’s only because Samsung disabled the software so that users would feel pushed towards the inferior S Voice application. It really sucks that Samsung didn’t give users the option to use one or the other—especially since Trusted Voice is in their settings menu—but regardless, you won’t be able to unlock the phone with just your voice unless Samsung removes their blockade.

There is, however, one case where the phone will unlock and activate while using the “OK Google” voice command. If your phone is plugged in, you can use this capability whenever you please. While it’s unfortunate that Samsung decided to block users from using the command whenever they wish, if you find yourself at home with your device charging, you can still use Google Assistant, even from across the room.

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Even with the limitations on Google Assistant put in place by Samsung, it’s still one of the best voice assistants available for your Galaxy S7 or S7 edge. It’s quickly available on any display, it’s fast and quick, and Google’s voice detection is quick and fast. It makes quickly searching something more easily accessible on your device, and even can use the context of your screen to help you find additional information. And while you can’t use Trusted Voice at all times on the S7, you can still unlock your phone with your voice when the device is charging. And troubleshooting any issues with Google Assistant is a breeze, so you won’t have to spend an hour deep inside the settings of your phone looking for a solution. Google Assistant is still relatively new, and it’s gaining new abilities often. So don’t wait any longer—set up Google Assistant on your phone and get to searching!

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