Google updated Chrome last month with its Web Speech API, allowing developers to utilize speech recognition features into their various Web apps. Until now the feature has been a bit underused, but Google is looking to change all of that with a clever silent movie experiment launching today, called ‘The Peanut Gallery’.

The concept is remarkably simple. Users simply go to the website and select from one of more than a dozen classic clips from silent films such as Phantom of the Opera, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Lost World and Voyage to the Moon.

Chrome will ask for access to your microphone and as long as you say yes, it’s possible to add intertitles – the bits in between each line of dialogue, so that viewers know what’s being said – just by speaking out loud.

The clip then plays, but whenever you start talking the clip pauses automatically, allowing you to add all kinds of dialogue for the action on-screen. If you’re struggling for ideas, Google has you covered with the following example:

When you’re finished, The Peanut Gallery also lets you share it to Google+, Twitter or Facebook.

Google has also published the following tips for best results:

Speak clearly at a moderate pace.
Mute other sounds or music on your computer.
Find a quiet space, away from outside noise.
Use regular dictionary words.
Add punctuation by saying “question mark”, “period”, etc.

It’s a clever tool, and one that more than shows off the potential of Google’s Web Speech API. The experiment follows an update to Google Chrome in February, which added the Web Speech API for consumers, as well as an interesting hack only weeks later, called Talk Radio, that used it for Siri-esque functionality with on-demand music streaming service Rdio.

Image credit: casasroger/Flickr