All Chrome users can now use the ‘Ok Google’ voice search thanks to a new extension from Google.
The Google Voice Search Hotword extension is now available in the Chrome Web Store for all Chrome users after the “Ok Google” search made an exclusive debut last week in the Chrome OS Dev channel.
There are, however, a few caveats. First of all, the extension only works on the main Google.com website and none of the regional sites at the moment. Since it’s a beta, it can also be a little unreliable. I’ve had to change focus away from the window and then back for the extension to start listening. And numerous reviews in the Web Store indicate mixed results amongst desktop and Chrome OS users as well.
The installation process is also more involved than most extensions, requiring a restart and a manual voice search to allow the site to access my microphone first before the extension started working correctly.
If anything, it’s a first look at how ‘Ok Google’ will behave for non-Chrome OS users. While it may not be too useful at the moment when limited to the Google.com, Google Voice Search is becoming more and more useful with the recently introduced Google Now-like cards when you search for popular places or people and with follow-up questions that let you query for results based on the context of the previous search.