Saturday, November 30, 2013

Google Introduces 'OK Google' Voice Search



Do you hate typing? If you use Chrome for desktop, you can now activate Google voice search by saying "OK, Google", just like you can on the Nexus 5 smartphone, thanks to anew official plug-in.

"It's that time of year... the in-laws are coming for a tasty Turkey Day dinner," Google wrote on a rather US-centric Google+ blog post. "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?'"

At the moment, the service is in beta and targeted at the US market, but it can be downloaded outside the US (it worked fine for us in our Sydney office) and, if it's anything like Google Now for Android, doesn't take long to adapt to your accent and idiom. And of course, it can be used for almost everything you currently use Google Now for: performing searches and translations, setting reminders, creating calendar events and getting directions.

You need to be on the Google search page for it to work, and it won't read out all your answers — so its functionality is limited — but we're optimistic that, at some stage, the feature will be enabled from any web page in the Chrome browser.

You can download Google Voice Search Hotword for free from the Chrome Web Store.