Google's Chrome Web browser now offers a cool new plug-in that brings voice search capabilities to Chrome for desktop users.
The Google Voice Search Hotword plug-in was released as a beta version on Nov. 26 in the Google Play store and can be installed into a user's Chrome desktop browser by downloading it to his or her machine and going through a few simple steps.
For users, now they can have the same Google voice search capabilities on their desktop machines that they experience on their Android and iOS devices. The early version of the plug-in isn't perfect, but it works well enough and is certain to be finessed and massaged into a better performing format in the future.
To use the new feature, users can speak into their desktop microphone and give voice commands that will render a response from Chrome. "This extension allows you to say 'OK Google' and start speaking your search," according to the description of the plug-in in the Play store. "Now you can talk to Google when you're using Chrome. Hands-free. No typing. Simply say 'OK Google' and then ask your question."
The first version is apparently only for users in the United States.
A few simple voice commands to test the new plug-in showed some the limitations with the first beta version of the app. A command for "OK Google, Dallas Dealey Plaza" quickly brought up a Google Search page about the infamous spot where President John F. Kennedy was assassinated 50 years ago last week.
Another search for Dalessandro's Steaks & Hoagies in Philadelphia had to be repeated about five times until the voice search plug-in responded with the proper answer. There is still work to be done with the word recognition capabilities of the plug-in, but finding such a complicated name after only five tries wasn't exactly a disappointment.
A search for 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. in Washington quickly found a Google Maps locator map for the White House.
Some early users of the new plug-in posted their reviews about the new addition, with some people loving it and some not so thrilled about it at this point.
"Works great for a beta!" wrote Nicholas Cappo. "Occasionally it gives me the error in between tests that there is no internet connection. Could mean anything but I definitely had an internet connection. Because of this little flaw I gave it 4 stars, but so far, great!"
Brandon Fischer also liked it. "Keep it coming Google," he wrote. "Now all we need is functionality for the whole browser!"