Google Chrome Gets a Voice Search Extension

By Lucian Parfeni on January 5th, 2011 14:22 GMT

Voice search is one of Android's killer features and is a great alternative to typing on the small or virtual keyboards in smartphones. While Google has been bullish on voice technologies, they've mostly been relegated to the mobile space. Not anymore though, Google is working on building voice input into Chrome and at least one developer is already taking advantage of the experimental feature.

The latest versions of Google Chrome 9 and above have support for voice input, but it's not enabled by default. In fact, it's not even available in the about:flags section, it has be enabled using a command line flag " --enable-speech-input".

Even if you do manage to enable the feature, it's still rather experimental and may not work very well.

That said, the young developer Eli Grey, has already created a Google Chrome extension, aptly named Voice Search, that takes advantage of the new functionality and adds voice search capabilities to a number of sites, as spotted by Google Operating System.

"Voice Search provides a method to search by speaking. For example, just click on the microphone and say 'kittens' to search for kittens. If you specifically want pictures of kittens, say 'google images kittens.' Want to learn more about World War II? Say 'wikipedia world war two'.," Grey described the extension.

"Voice Search comes pre-loaded with the following default services: Google, Wikipedia, YouTube, Bing, Yahoo, DuckDuckGo and Wolfram|Alpha. You can also add your own user-defined search engines," he added.

"It also integrates a speech input button for all websites using HTML5 search boxes, all of the default search engines' websites, Facebook, Twitter, reddit, and GitHub," he continued.

The Voice Search extension is already available in the Chrome Web Store and, despite being only a couple of weeks old, already has over 16,000 users.

Voice input in general is far from perfect, so you can expect that a new extension based on an experimental feature is going to have issues. But if you want to take it for a spin you can grab it from the Web Store.
Voice Search for Google Chrome
   Voice Search for Google Chrome
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