Chrome is gradually becoming a platform, and some of Android’s best features are finding their way to Windows. With voice search and Google Now support, Google suggests Microsoft’s own Cortana service before Windows.
How to Use Voice Search and Google Now in Chrome
With these features, you can use your voice to search and ask questions like a phone – you can even tell your browser to say OK, Google. You can also view Google Now notifications without getting the phone.
To perform a voice search, open a new tab in Chrome (press Ctrl + T) or visit the Google homepage. Click the microphone icon in the search bar.
Google will listen. Just speak into your microphone. You can speak or ask a question like “How many people live on earth?”. You don’t have to do anything when you are done – just stop speaking and wait and Google will find that you have spoken.
If nothing happens when you speak, make sure your microphone is set up correctly. If you don’t have a microphone and you’re using a laptop, that’s fine – your laptop probably has a built-in microphone that is used by default.
Google will do the search you said. If you ask a question, Google will even tell you the results – just like doing a voice search on a smartphone or tablet.
The search engine uses some smart tricks when performing certain types of searches. For example, you can ask anything like, “Who is the President of the United States?”, And Google will give you the answer. You can then click the voice search button(icon) and ask, “How old is he?” Google will show you the result and derive who you’re referring to from your previous search.
Always listening voice search
This feature is cool, but not entirely hands-free. You still have to click a button before you start your voice search. To skip the click, you can install the official Google Voice Search Hotword Extension (Beta) from Google.
This extension only works if you search from google.com. Say “OK” when this page is open and Google is listening to your search. Google is likely to use this extension to test the functionality and may make it available to a wider audience in the future.
Chrome has also integrated Google Now notifications. These are available in Chrome’s notification center. Note that you can only see these notifications if you are using Google Now on an Android or iOS device.
In Windows, the notification center is located in the taskbar. Look for the arrow icon in the system tray when it is hidden. On Mac OS X, you will find the notification icon in the bar at the top of the screen. On Chrome OS, a notification center icon appears in the lower right corner of the screen.
Click the notification icon and you’ll see the same type of Google Now notifications that you see on your mobile device. This includes weather information for your current location, directions to the locations you are looking for, package tracking information from tracking emails sent to your Gmail address, sports scores, flight information, and more.
All of this is tied to the Google Account you used to sign in to Chrome. So make sure you sign in to Chrome for Desktops and Chrome on your Android or iOS device with the same Google account.
Google will add more Google Now cards to Chrome over time.
These features are available in today’s stable version of Chrome, so you don’t need any special features. Of course, they’re not as powerful as anywhere else – some Google Now cards are not yet available, and you can’t use Google Voice Search to perform system-wide actions like on an Android device.