Online Search Made Easier With Google Chrome Voice Command
November 28, 2013

Online Search Made Easier With Google Chrome Voice Command

Bryan P. Carpender for - Your Universe Online

Google continues to trick out its Chrome browser with its latest extension, releasing the voice-activated “Ok Google” command to desktop users.

In May 2013, Google showed off voice commands at its I/O developer conference. The hands-free “OK Google” feature has already been in use in ChromeBook laptops, as well as mobile devices such as the Moto X, the Nexus 5 and the Motorola Droid product lineup. Now desktop users can get in the voice command game.

It’s simple: first, download the Chrome browser if you haven’t already. Once installed, you'll likely have to give Chrome permission to access your computer's microphone. Then, a "Say OK Google" notice will appear in the search bar. When it recognizes your voice, a red microphone will appear and Google will type what you say before giving you an answer.

[ Watch the video: Talk To Google On Chrome ]

To make it even easier, go to the Chrome Web Store and find the Google Voice Search Hotword (Beta) extension and add it.

This will actively listen for the “OK Google” command, so you don’t have to actually click the little microphone icon in the Google search bar when you want to execute a search. It’s free and only takes a few seconds to download. (I was up and running in about a minute and a half, going from not having Chrome installed to testing the new voice command and feeling cool. Impressive.)

If you don’t have Chrome yet, this is the perfect nifty feature to get you to try it.

With the Thanksgiving holiday upon us, the timing for this addition couldn’t be better – and Google knows it. In fact, it is betting that people will be putting it to good use to help them manage any manner of holiday crisis.

“It’s that time of year… the in-laws are coming for a tasty Turkey Day dinner. You’re elbow-deep in your turkey, ready to start the stuffing and you need to quickly calculate how many ounces of walnuts are in a cup. This year, rather than stopping midway through to wash your hands and type in a search, you can just speak to your laptop: ‘Ok Google, how many ounces are in one cup?’ Et voila, the cooking can go on,” says the search engine behemoth in a Google+ post.

Use the voice command to find out which Thanksgiving Day football games to watch. Do you want to see how the various “Friends” Thanksgiving episodes are ranked so you can watch them as you slave away in the kitchen? Give it a try. You can even use it to set a timer to remind you to baste that bird.

There’s one catch: you must be on a Google search page to activate it.

There’s a simple visual cue to indicate when you’re ready to search hands-free: the outline of a microphone means that it’s not listening for your command, while a shaded in microphone lets you know you’re ready to go.

A simple click over to Chrome’s settings will allow you to enable “OK Google” hotword detection when on Google Search. Check another box and it will stop listening for the magic words after 5 minutes of idle time.

At this time, the Google Voice Search Hotword extension is still in a beta stage, so while the commands are still fairly basic, this feature seems to reinforce Google’s push toward integration of voice recognition across systems.