Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Google brings "Ok Google" hotword to the Desktop

If you're an Android user and have grown fond of the "Ok, Google" to initiate voice commands and queries, you'll be pleased to know that you can now do the same in your desktop or laptop, as long as you're using Google's own Chrome browser.

Thanks to the Google Voice Search hotword Chrome extension (beta), you can now enjoy the same handsfree operation for every thing Google does. I find it particularly liberating to use my Android to do quick unit conversions as well as USD to EUR and back, and lots more. I just wish that the Nexus 5 could listen even while "sleeping" as the Moto X does. Likewise, with this Chrome extension, you'll only be able to say Ok Google when you're a Google search page... which I also find to be quite limiting. It would make much more sense to be able to ask Google things even while we're navigating other sites - results could be simply spoken, or open up a new results tab page.

But I understand Google needs to take it slowly, particularly when there's so much going around regarding potential privacy invasions, and such. At least this way Google can assure users it's only listening when you're on the Google page, and it's sent to Google's servers only after you've said the Ok Google (or Ok Computer). Though I think it's only a matter of time till the voice listening mode becomes system wide.

... When it does, I can already imagine someone entering an office and loudly saying: "ok google, search for porn..." and have dozens of computers popping up not so suitable pages on their screens. Or maybe even a "Ok Google, shutdown computer"... before quickly running out.

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