If you see someone near you talking to their computer, don’t be surprised. The latest version of Google’s Chrome browser now supports voice search through the “OK Google” keyword. The feature first arrived in beta back in February and is now available on the generally available version of Chrome.
To use the hands-free voice search you’ll need the most recent version of Chrome and be on either a new blank browser tab or on the Google.com page itself. Then, simply say “OK Google” and speak your search command. You can also use the feature to set reminders or set a timer, which ties in Google Now; the company’s contextual digital assistant service used on Android phones, Google Glass and, starting next month, Android Wear smartwatches.
The hands-free feature is optional; you have to enable it. So if you’re not too keen on Google hearing your spoken word, you’ll want to keep the function turned off. If you’re doing Google searches though, you’re already providing Google with information about you, so using “OK Google” voice search isn’t giving up that much more. Bear in mind also that Chrome is only listening for the “OK Google” hot word; it’s not eavesdropping on all of your conversations.