Google today launched the Google Voice Search Hotword extension for Chrome, bring its “OK Google” feature to the desktop. You can download the new tool, currently in beta, now directly from the Chrome Web Store.
Android users with version 4.4 KitKat will recognize the feature: it lets you talk to Google without first clicking or typing. It’s completely hands-free, provided you’re already on Google.com: just say “OK Google” and then ask your question.
Here it is in action:
The getting started instructions are straightforward:
- Download the extension.
- Click “agree” to give your permission to use your microphone.
- Visit Google.com on Chrome and give it a try. Just say “Ok Google” and then ask your question.
With Thanksgiving just around the corner in the US, Google is naturally playing this up as a great feature for those buried in the kitchen. Without washing your hands first to type in a search, you can just speak to your laptop: “Ok Google, how many ounces are in one cup?” or “Ok Google, set a timer for 30 minutes.”
Unfortunately, the extension is currently limited to the English language in the US. That’s a bit disappointing given KitKat is available in more than just its native home, but we’ll keep a close eye on this one to see its language availability expand.
For those weary of Google listening in to everything they say, the company promises the following: “this extension sends your question to Google only when it hears the phrase ‘Ok Google.'” If you’re still not comfortable with that, just don’t install the extension. We presume Google will one day integrate the feature directly into its site, but for now it’s completely optional.
Top Image Credit: Johannes Eisele/Getty Images