Google is reportedly working on a set of new features for Android that would make it easier to interact with your phone without it consuming your attention.
The initiative would be aimed at making it safer to use your phone while driving, but will mostly entail improving the voice-activated search functionality in Android.
Essentially, Google will take the touchless voice-controls that debuted in the Moto X and expand them to work with Google’s Search app in Android, according to Android Police.
The feature would allow you to search from anywhere by speaking a request, even if you’re using an app or if the screen is locked. This always-on voice search would also work when the phone is turned off while it’s charging.
Google may also introduce a new mode to take advantage of this functionality, which would allow you to carry out searches and perform simple tasks without actually having to grab for your phone.
When in this “eyes-free” mode, Google would speak aloud search results in a more detailed manner than it does today. For example, instead of just reciting the weather forecast, Google would read the whole card out loud.
If your question only pulls up search results rather than a direct answer from Google, the feature will suggest that you save those results for later or exit “eyes-free” mode when it’s safe to do so.
In some instances, Google will take the initiative to complete tasks automatically. For example, Google may send a text message if you don’t hit the send button after a short period of time while in this mode.
Android Police didn’t specify how Google decides whether to act on its own or wait for your confirmation, but did make it seem like this would only be an occasional occurrence. In most cases, users would vocally confirm or press a button to perform an action manually.
The feature is being referred to as KITT internally, and judging by Android Police’s mockups the interface looks minimalistic and sleek. The voice search screen consists of a black background with a red or blue circle indicating whether or not Google is listening for a search query or speaking the results.
The screenshots published by Android Police aren’t leaked from Google — they’re just design mockups the website made to create a visual.
The rumour appears just as previous reports have suggested that Google has some radical changes in store for Android. The company may roll out a new program called Android Silver, which could replace Google’s Nexus line of smartphones. Google would partner with Android device makers to create special handsets that run on a pure version of Android and come with extra features and support — such as 24/7 help via Google Hangouts.
We’re expecting to learn more about Android, Google’s wearable devices and Chrome at its upcoming I/O developer event on June 25.