Android 15 to enable voice assistant switching with voice commands

Voice assistants enable hands-free weather monitoring, alarm clock setting, music playing, and internet research. A variety of voice assistants are available for Android users to select from, such as Bixby if you own a Samsung phone, Amazon Alexa, and Google Assistant. The phone must constantly listen to the voice through the microphone in order to recover the designated wake phrase, which is mostly why this is happening. By utilizing “adaptive sensing” technology, which protects privacy, a new feature in Android 15 dubbed “Voice Activation” may be able to address this issue.

Upon examination of the Android 14 QPR2 beta (see below), Android Authority discovered a secret page for voice activation apps. This page displays beneath Special app access under Settings > Apps. Furthermore, you have the option to choose which applications receive new permissions for voice activation. The permission description states that “built-in adaptive sensing keeps your data private only to you” and that voice activation “turns on authorized apps hands-free using voice commands.”

The link “Learn more about protected adaptive sensing” at the conclusion of the description goes to an unpublished Google support page. It remains unknown how protected adaptive sensing will maintain voice data privacy. When we dig further into the OS code, we discover references to this new permission and a log message that connects the API to hotword detection. This log indicates that the hotword detection service will terminate if an app revokes voice activation authorization.

There seems to be at least a connection between wake words and this new functionality; however, it’s not clear if it will allow applications to activate bespoke wake words or merely presets. The fact that third-party apps may possess the new voice activation authorization is what makes this feature so intriguing. The protection level of RECEIVE_SANDBOX_TRIGGER_AUDIO, the underlying permission, is “application|privileged|signature.”

Only system applications may now utilize the present APIs and permissions used to record and react to wake phrases, but this new voice activation permission is less limited. However, there is a possibility of changes before the voice activation capability becomes available. The ChatGPT app is currently working on adding support to be configured as the default Assistant app, allowing you to use ChatGPT entirely hands-free, unlike Google Assistant. That may be made feasible by the voice activation function of Android 15.

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