Google Chrome's latest Version 27 Web browser just picked up innovative speech-to-search capabilities and increased speed, as it has been pushed out to the Chrome Stable Release Channel.
The latest Version 27.0.1453.93 of the lightweight, flexible Web browser was unveiled in a May 21 post by Karen Grunberg of the Chrome team on the Google Chrome Releases Blog. Chrome 27 is for the Windows, Mac, Linux and Chrome OSes.
The highlights of the latest release include Web pages that load 5 percent faster on average than previous versions, and the inclusion of a chrome.syncFileSystem API that allows the saving and synchronization of data on Google Drive, according to Grunberg's post.
Another feature that's included isn't even mentioned in the post, but is apparent on first glance of the new Chrome Search box. Once updated to Version 27, users will see a small microphone icon on the right side of the search box—which, when clicked, lets users verbally ask Chrome to help with a search.
The conversational search feature was unveiled earlier in May at the Google I/O 2013 Developers Conference, where it was announced as an upcoming capability in Chrome. Google apparently wasted no time bringing the feature to Chrome.
Presently, the feature requires users to click on the microphone icon to make their verbal requests. But over time, users will be able to perform searches by voice alone—without the need for a click of the microphone, according to Google.
Chrome 27 also includes fixes for 14 security vulnerabilities, including 11 that are rated as high priority, two that are rated medium priority and one that is rated low priority.
Also included in the new version of Chrome 27 is a new Adobe Flash build, which includes some bug fixes.
The latest Chrome browser can be downloaded for free from Google.
Chrome 27 updates and replaces Chrome 26, which was released in April, with many stability improvements and a new version of Adobe Flash.
Earlier in April, Google announced that it is working to boost business adoption of the Chrome browser by improving enterprise management tools in the application.
Among the new Chrome management capabilities aimed at businesses' IT managers is a cloud-based management capability for Google Apps for Business and Education customers to make it easier for employers to allow their workers to bring in their PCs or devices for work.
The new enterprise tools mean that business users will be able to access default applications, custom themes or a curated app Web store when they sign in to Chrome with their work accounts, whether employees are working from the company's desktop or their personal laptop. With cloud-based management, IT administrators will be able to customize more than 100 Chrome policies and preferences for their employees from the Google Admin panel.
Another improvement is Legacy Browser Support, which IT administrators can configure to automatically launch an alternate browser when a user wants to run a Web app that is built for older browsers and not compatible with Chrome. By using the Legacy Browser Support option, employees on Chrome are automatically switched to a legacy browser when they begin using an older app.
The updates are part of Google's continuing effort to attract business users to its Chrome browser and online office productivity products.