Shout "OK Google" at your PC to search the web with your voice

Google has recently opened the gates to their voice searching feature with its latest Chrome update. The service is available to all who use the browser and have the language set to US English, and is activated by calling out "OK Google" to their computer to initiate a search. The subtle addition should enable for a quick and efficient search, and we suspect that the more vocal users, who don't mind shouting commands at their computer, will enjoy this nifty feature especially.

Previously only available within the Android community "OK Google" is now being opened up to an even larger audience. Voice activation has been well received within the industry, so its not really a surprise that Google are expanding it further. It may be worth noting that the feature has been in the public eye for Chrome since February, but only those who signed up to the beta "early access" scheme could take advantage of it. 

Before the service can be activated, ensure that you are running the latest version of Google Chrome. This can be checked by clicking "About Google Chrome" in the options pane. Although the update is limited to US individuals, we suspect that compatibility for other languages will soon be made available.

With the imminent release of Microsoft's AI Cortana, as well as the hugely successful Siri from Apple, it's no wonder Google is keen to expand its offering further. 

Source: Google via TechCrunch | Business woman with arms up image via Shutterstock 

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53 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

I only use a mic (headset) for the occasional coop gaming.

I will never leave a mic plugged in and enabled for Google or god knows who that can listen to what I say in my own f****n room.

I can imagine Google overhearing you talking about pizza and all the ads in chrome suddenly turn into pizza joints ads.

Polarman said,

I can imagine Google overhearing you talking about pizza and all the ads in chrome suddenly turn into pizza joints ads.

That does sound useful though.

I think "Google Now" on Mobiles it's OK, but kinda useless on PC.

Also I still have NSA concerns and my OCD.

To disable type "chrome://flags" on Chrome omnibar, and hit enter, then search for "Enable Rich Notifications" or "Google Now". From the drop-down menu, select Disabled.

Restart Chrome. Voila!

"Previously only available within the Android community"
Not entirely accurate. I used this months and months ago on Windows via the Google extension.https://chrome.google.com/webs...hgboaologfdajaanbcjmnhjmhfn It's been around since at least November 2013 according to the Wayback Machine.

<!--
FILE ARCHIVED ON 0:46:51 Nov 27, 2013 AND RETRIEVED FROM THE
INTERNET ARCHIVE ON 18:57:35 May 22, 2014.
JAVASCRIPT APPENDED BY WAYBACK MACHINE, COPYRIGHT INTERNET ARCHIVE.

ALL OTHER CONTENT MAY ALSO BE PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT (17 U.S.C.
SECTION 108(a)(3)).
-->
http://web.archive.org/web/201...hgboaologfdajaanbcjmnhjmhfn

Thanks for the heads up. Your correct, this has been available for beta users. However the recent update from Chrome has enabled it on all machines, and that's why we're letting the Neowin readers know :)
Enjoy the feature, and thanks for the comment,

Dan Hull

The article also states its been in beta for Windows users as well (if that helps)

Finally? they showed this off at some event a year ago. So you have to be actually on google to use it? Well that's worthless.

Also to turn it on you have to go to http://www.google.com and you have to enable ok google with the Microphone on the right of the search box.

Then before it will work you have to click the Mic and a box will appear asking if you want to allow google to use your mic. After that ok google works great, but only on google.com

Edited by warwagon, May 22 2014, 5:13pm :

mastercoms said,
What if you have your default search engine set to Bing?

Just daring to be different eh? Have you talked to the other three Bing users about this?

mastercoms said,
What if you have your default search engine set to Bing?

You just yell out "Bing!". Eventually some guys in white coats come to your office and take you away.

ruhgster said,
Is this for Chrome browser or just Chrome OS? The Google chrome blog mentions this for the OS, not the browser.
http://googlechromereleases.blogspot.com/

You're probably right. That's what happens when Neowin paraphrases another news source instead of the original source. If you click through to TechCrunch's source, it's a direct link to the blog post on the blog in your link.

That's also what Google gets for naming a web browser and an operating system the same thing.

This is an inaccurate statement. Neowin constantly strives to provide the best quality news online. Our sources are always checked for validity and accuracy - this is how we've gained the reputation of ours so far.
Please don't leap to conclusions in the future, but its awesome to see you've found the feature.

Cheers,

Dan Hull

rfirth said,

You're probably right. That's what happens when Neowin paraphrases another news source instead of the original source. If you click through to TechCrunch's source, it's a direct link to the blog post on the blog in your link.

That's also what Google gets for naming a web browser and an operating system the same thing.

MikeChipshop said,

Nope, both.

Of course it's in Chrome OS. The blog post that this news article uses as a source is about Chrome OS.

I was only questioning whether it was also in Chrome (the web browser) because the source was a blog post about Chrome OS, not the web browser... which is very suspicious. But it turned out to be true.

I am surprised that no one has made a big fuss about this. When Kinect came out and was listening persistently for commands, people flipped. "They are listening to us all the time!". Now if one is using Chrome, once again, 'they are listening to us all the time!

ObiWanToby said,
I am surprised that no one has made a big fuss about this. When Kinect came out and was listening persistently for commands, people flipped. "They are listening to us all the time!". Now if one is using Chrome, once again, 'they are listening to us all the time!


Isn't the source code available? Do we know that its not recording or sending anything?

Well it has some distinct differences;
a) Not every PC has a microphone
b) You can unplug or mute your microphone
c) You can examine whether an application is using the microphone

CuddleVendor said,
Well it has some distinct differences;
a) Not every PC has a microphone
b) You can unplug or mute your microphone
c) You can examine whether an application is using the microphone

d) You can decide to not to install Chrome.
e) Or simply disabling this feature.

Brony said,

d) You can decide to not to install Chrome.
e) Or simply disabling this feature.

They added the feature silently... most people aren't even going to be aware that it's always listening to them.

You can't disable something you don't even know about. The Kinect doesn't deceive in that way.

CuddleVendor said,
Well it has some distinct differences;
a) Not every PC has a microphone
b) You can unplug or mute your microphone
c) You can examine whether an application is using the microphone

a) Not every Xbox One has a Kinect
b) You can unplug or mute your Kinect
c) You cam examine whether the Kinect is being prompted

panacea said,


Isn't the source code available? Do we know that its not recording or sending anything?


For Chromium, this is Google Chrome. I believe everything Google branded is removed.

rfirth said,

They added the feature silently... most people aren't even going to be aware that it's always listening to them.

You can't disable something you don't even know about. The Kinect doesn't deceive in that way.

You can enable something you don't know about either, and voice commands on chrome require both activation and permission granting.

rfirth said,
They added the feature silently... most people aren't even going to be aware that it's always listening to them.

You can't disable something you don't even know about. The Kinect doesn't deceive in that way.

Disabled by default on my computer. Windows 8.1.1 with Chrome installed.

I would think Google would get in some troubles if they blindly enabled listening software on your PC.

panacea said,


Isn't the source code available? Do we know that its not recording or sending anything?

So are you clever enough to know if the source code is the same as the program code? Or do you just believe everything google tells you?

CuddleVendor said,
Well it has some distinct differences;
a) Not every PC has a microphone
b) You can unplug or mute your microphone
c) You can examine whether an application is using the microphone

a) Not every Xbox has a Kinect (starting next month)
b) You can unplug or mute Kinect (this has always been the case)
c) The console makes it very obvious if it is broadcasting or listening to what you are saying
d) Edward Snowden has a Kinect, in his shower, next to the Kinect source code leaked to him by Steve Ballmer. He trusts it. It is good.

ObiWanToby said,
I am surprised that no one has made a big fuss about this. When Kinect came out and was listening persistently for commands, people flipped. "They are listening to us all the time!". Now if one is using Chrome, once again, 'they are listening to us all the time!

You forgot to take into account the MDS.

(Microsoft Double Standard)

Enron said,
a) Not every Xbox has a Kinect (starting next month)

I'm trying to find the logic in what you and the earlier replier said - you are trying to defend a ruckus that happened before the XBox was released by saying "they won't have it now".

100% of XB1's sold to this date have it.

Enron said,
b) You can unplug or mute Kinect (this has always been the case)

And the Chrome feature is disabled by default. In fact it won't even work for the majority of the worlds population right now because it requires;

- Your Chrome to be set to US English
- Enabling it from the Preferences
- Allowing Chrome to listen to your microphone

I'm just saying, it's not really comparable to the XBox ruckus because it's a feature that is on by default. XBox was an "opt-out", not "opt-in".

CuddleVendor said,

I'm trying to find the logic in what you and the earlier replier said - you are trying to defend a ruckus that happened before the XBox was released by saying "they won't have it now".

100% of XB1's sold to this date have it.


And the Chrome feature is disabled by default. In fact it won't even work for the majority of the worlds population right now because it requires;

- Your Chrome to be set to US English
- Enabling it from the Preferences
- Allowing Chrome to listen to your microphone

I'm just saying, it's not really comparable to the XBox ruckus because it's a feature that is on by default. XBox was an "opt-out", not "opt-in".


Opt-out? So the Kinect comes attached to the Xbox out of the box?
Also you are giving the excuse of the lack of Chrome's language support as a privacy feature?

mastercoms said,
Also you are giving the excuse of the lack of Chrome's language support as a privacy feature?

The privacy "feature" is that you have to manually enable it and IN ADDITION to manually enabling it in TWO places you have to change your language settings to match.

Plugging in Kinect would instantly turn it into a voice and video recognition system as opposed to being one that you then activate via the configuration.

However I know arguing anything here is pointless because people don't see the forest from the trees but considering Microsoft themselves now think Kinect is a piece of ####, have fun defending it to the death.

CuddleVendor said,

The privacy "feature" is that you have to manually enable it and IN ADDITION to manually enabling it in TWO places you have to change your language settings to match.

Plugging in Kinect would instantly turn it into a voice and video recognition system as opposed to being one that you then activate via the configuration.

However I know arguing anything here is pointless because people don't see the forest from the trees but considering Microsoft themselves now think Kinect is a piece of ####, have fun defending it to the death.


Yes, because on your computer, you don't use the mic just for Chrome, on the Xbox, it only has that one function, if you have it plugged in, you want voice recognition

CuddleVendor said,
have to change your language settings to match.

Only if you're outside of the US, the main market for the 'OK Google' feature is the US, where the language doesn;t have to be changed.

Someone should tell that lady that she's just shouting at a monitor.

A monitor that's not actually plugged in.

To be fair, she's not really shouting at the monitor... she seems to be cheering... like she got a good deal on something lol. :p