Google adds voice control to Chrome search

Google has added the ‘OK Google’ voice search from Android to its Chrome desktop web browser.

Initially available through the Motorola Moto X over in the US, the feature has been launched as a free beta app on the Chrome Web Store, with the rather unsnappy name of the Google Voice Search Hotword.

Once added, you can navigate to the Google search home page and simply say “OK Google” to initiate a voice search. Provided your computer has a microphone plugged in (or built in, as the case may be), Google will hear your command and start listening properly.

At this point you can say whatever you want, and Google will search for it.

Our own experience with the new Google Chrome extension was somewhat mixed. On the negative side, we couldn’t seem to get the OK Google prompt to work on our MacBook Pro – we had to manually click the new microphone logo to initiate a voice search. From some of the user reviews, this isn’t an isolated incident.

It’s also a bit of a bind that you can’t initiate a voice search from anywhere within Chrome, automatically opening a new search tab when you say those magical words. The lack of such a facility somewhat negates the hands-off convenience of the concept, even when the vocal prompt does work.

Still, the actual process of inputting voice-based search requests is undeniably slick. Requesting “50 pounds in dollars” duly brought up the appropriate currency conversion, and “beef brisket recipes” resulted in some particularly meaty links. It’s all very quick and accurate.

If Google can remove that final layer or two of obstruction in the final version (remember, this is only a beta), then this could be a very useful little tool.

Next, read our Motorola Moto G review

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