Through a Chrome browser extension users can now invoke the hotword (or hot phrase) “OK Google” to initiate hands-free searches on the PC. Voice search on Chrome was possible before but you needed to manually select the microphone.
After the browser extension is installed you simply need to say “OK Google,” pause briefly and speak a query. This brings the functionality of Google Glass voice search and hands-free search on smartphones to the PC.
Hotword voice search can only be initiated from the Google.com homepage or a Google SERP, when the search bar with a microphone is visible. What would be “totally awesome,” however, is if Google could enable voice search from the address bar so that hands-free voice queries or navigation could take place from any web page.
In some situations hands-free search is a great help — such as in Google’s messy hands Thanksgiving example — in others it’s of limited value. Google’s speech recognition doesn’t always pick up the final words in lengthy queries. And its accuracy is not always perfect. But for several-word queries, short questions and hands-free navigation it’s great.