2013-11-26 16_59_09-New Tab

Google's voice search feature has been slowly but surely working its way into more mobile products recently. First the hotword came to the search app, then to the search results. The Moto X launched with always-on listening, and the Nexus 5 now has voice commands from anywhere on the homescreen or in the search app. Now the "OK Google" command is coming to the desktop via a new Google Chrome extension.

The extension is explicitly labeled as a beta, but it seems to work well. After installation you just have to allow it access to your microphone and get ready to start talking to your computer like a crazy person. The "OK Google" command will be picked up on the new tab page or on the actual Google search site (results included). Just like on mobile, the solid microphone icon in the search bar means voice search is ready, and the hollow icon means something has gone wrong.

okaygoogtest2 (1)

You can use any of the usual Google voice search commands from the Knowledge Graph, but the newer phone features like conversation emails won't work, at least not yet. It does plug into reminders according to the video, but we haven't been able to get that working. Just like a phone, the PC will also read the results back to you if your volume is up. Something else you should also be aware of is that using the voice command with your PC might also trigger it on other devices. The Moto X on my desk seems happy to spring to life, even though it's supposed to listen for "OK Google now."

2013-11-26 16_58_15-New Tab

It might be nice to have the listening feature available at all times when Chrome is open, rather than just on search and new tab pages, but this is a big step in the right direction. I've only seen the extension fail to start up voice search a handful of times after a lot of testing, so things look solid on my end.

[Chrome Web Store, Google Support]

Ryan Whitwam
Ryan is a tech/science writer, skeptic, lover of all things electronic, and Android fan. In his spare time he reads golden-age sci-fi and sleeps, but rarely at the same time. His wife tolerates him as few would.

He's the author of a sci-fi novel called The Crooked City, which is available on Amazon and Google Play. http://goo.gl/WQIXBM

  • james

    google strikes again with the infamous US only line.

    • Franco Rossel

      Classical Google.

    • Roh_Mish

      Dobt know whats wrong with them. Even apple hall all services (except radio) in my country.

    • Jachym Kokesh Lukes

      Works here in Sweden also, I haven't done anything special, simply installed the extension.

  • F Young

    It also works in Canada.

  • Yathushan Sivarajah

    i got it as well and I'm in the UK. But it does not seem to be working. It could just be my mic though.

  • Zargh

    "The Moto X on my desk seems happy to spring to life, even though it's supposed to listen for "OK Google now.""

    Maybe what happened is that Motorola learnt the difference between Voice Search and Google Now, realized the hotword was "wrong" but since changing it entirely in an update would be too disruptive they just added a second "OK Google" keyword on top of it.

    • Keith

      I'd heard somewhere a bit ago that the Moto X's Touchless Control had been tweaked to respond to just "OK Google". I'm thinking in the camera update? Now need to look it up. Maybe MKBHD? Man I have no idea, but I heard/read it somewhere.

      • Tomáš Petrík

        It actually responds to almost anything that begins with "Ok G...", presumably to make the startup time shorter - by the time you finish saying "...oogle", it is already loaded and ready to listen to you.

        • Keith

          Ah, that would be very clever.

  • Philip Kahn

    How odd. I can't get it to work on my NTP.

  • RetsuUnohana

    I've been wanting this! so excited! Works like a charm!

  • Mike Gonzalez

    why Google limits some of its services is just beyond my mind... "Ok Google" is something even the most stupid people can say whatever their main language is

    • Fabian Pineda

      Surprisingly, this isn't true. My Wife can't launch a voice command as Google doesn't understand her very latin accent on the word "Google", in order to make this work she has to go MURICAN accent and say Ok GOOGL like she's choking.

      • PhoenixPath

        You really should record that and put it on YouTube.

  • GreatNews


  • Eric Jones

    I thought they shortened the command on the Moto X to just "ok, Google" awhile ago?

    • RyanWhitwam

      Maybe it's listening for that too, but the phone's settings still say "OK Google Now."

      • fellabusta

        So far, "Hey Google" has worked for me every time and feels a lot more natural.

  • Anthony Pettit

    try google.com/ncr to avoid it redirecting you to .co.uk or .de or .es or whatever

  • Hadi

    Doesn't seem to be US only, it works in German as well.

  • Brad

    Works just fine from Australia. You might need to edit the original post.

  • iandouglas

    Doesn't work on Mavericks/Chrome 33.0.1712.4 dev, crashes every time I go to google.com

    • Mobile Phones Fan

      Don't feel bad. I can't get it working on a Mavericks iMac with Chrome stable, v.31.0.1650.57.

    • Jimas

      Same here...

    • Adrià

      Me neither hehe

  • Ibrahim Yusuf

    it works for me, I'm in Jordan

  • Max Barlow

    Works in uk

    • Ben Craib

      How can't get it to work foe m!

      • Max Barlow

        Just installed it, works fine without any tweaks or mods.

  • Alexandre Hitchcox

    I'm in France, and it works for me. Maybe because I used google.com though, and not .fr

  • Chris Ware

    this would be cool if it was always on when chrome is. It doesn't seem to me to make searching much faster if I actually have to go to the website first.

  • Drayon

    Not sure what the us only thingy is about as it works just as great (or gimped) as on mobile for me. I can say ok google and search just fine. It just won't do anything fancy like saying the answer. (I'm from the netherlands)

  • Ivan

    Works great.. And I am not from USA, I am from Bulgaria :-)))

  • Matthew Merrick

    does absolutely nothing on my Chromebook... *sadface*

    • Matthew Fry

      A frustrating number of things do nothing on the Chromebook. My wife seems happy with hers but no Java and no Chromecasting makes Matt a sad boy.

      • http://rootzwiki.com/news Max M.

        Chromecasting works (slowly) on mine but this does not work at all. Pretty disappointing that many Google things don't work well on the Chromebook, like G+ for instance.

  • http://www.emuparadise.me/roms-isos-games.php rarely online

    I'm okay with this being USA only, not useful at all for me since I don't sit and yell at my computer to search for things.

    • always online


      • http://www.emuparadise.me/roms-isos-games.php rarely online

        Never. I don't use google now to begin with, the novelty wore off after 2 minutes f trying it.

  • Jose Marie Maquinay

    Works quite well in the Philippines

  • Tom Inniss
  • sssgadget

    Who would want to talk to their PC?

  • Chris

    Doesn't work at all for me. Installed the extension and none of the Google search pages have the "Okay Google". Looks exactly the same without the extension installed...

    Now, if I could figure a way to set default microphone... That would be great. For some reason Chrome is defaulting to my Webcam... Which absolutely sucks balls.

    • Eugenio Marletti

      For me the trick was going to chrome://settings/languages and putting "English (United States)" at the top, plus forcing to use google.com (instead of your local variation, if any).

      If you want to change the microphone for a specific site, click on the videocamera icon at the end of the omnibar and pick the one you want, otherwise if you want to change the default for every site go to: chrome://settings/content then Media -> Microphone

      Hope it helps!

      • Chris

        It already is set to the top. I actually figured out the issues when I looked at the debug console. It appears (and this is an ongoing issue with Chrome I've had) that I have to run chrome as an administrator before it can attach itself to the microphone.

  • installster

    it works from singapore

  • Hayden Andrew

    Working In Australia

  • Hayden Andrew

    Working in Australia

  • Fred

    Reminder isn't working for me. The only reason I install this is for the reminder function. Is this working for anyone?

  • Scott Davis

    The "OK Google" hotword is not working on the HP Chromebook 11

  • http://www.mayura4ever.com/ Mayura De Silva

    US Only means English (US), I guess.

    • Mobile Phones Fan

      Bingo. And given how much people already complain when Google Now can't grok their regional accents or a favorite (non-English) language, I think we can understand why Google would start this new project with limited linguistic support.

    • Guest

      And it seems any other English countries. It's working in Canada, and Australia.

      • http://www.mayura4ever.com/ Mayura De Silva

        Well, it works for me eventhough I'm from a non-English country (Sri Lanka) mate :)

        I intend to say, it doesn't have to do anything with the country of origin. The language this feature supports right now is English (US).

    • http://www.twitter.com/ninjustin ninjustin

      Get over it Google is a US company. Even if it does work for you they don't and can't support all countries at once for a newly released product.

  • Many99

    Has anybody got reminders to work on this, I'm not sure if the reminders part does't work because I'm in Canada or simply does't work for some people including people in the USA, or it is something that google left off the beta and will add it later

  • qe

    I will use it when you release this extension for Firefox. Fuck Chrome.

    • anzensepp1987

      Why should they?

    • sfumatoxxx

      don't fucking use it then.

  • hmmm

    Why an extension? Cant this be enabled on the server side?

    • Mobile Phones Fan

      Sure, but why give ammunition to the privacy whack-jobs and other assorted Google haters? Those people sit around waiting for any opportunity to complain that Google have somehow hijacked a user's 'right to choose'.

      So, the smart money says make installation fully opt-in via affirmative act. It's similar to how Chrome (beta) played hide-and-go-seek from the Play Store...after all those clicks, nobody can say Google 'forced' it on them.

  • Ricardo Neves

    Can you people stop saying "It works in *insert country*"? It's spamming the comments. It works in "google.COM", wherever you are.

  • French

    works in french on google.com => maybe the beginning of multilanguage support ? :D

  • jdoree

    I had to do an easy workaround to get it to work in Canada. Did it work by default for you?

    Here's the workaround: http://quickandnerdy.com/using-google-voice-search-hotword-chrome-extension-outside-us/

  • Ph0t0n

    Ryan - I agree with what you said in the last paragraph. It's pointless if you have to open Chrome and go to http://www.google.com for voice activation to work. Chrome has an application that sits in the system tray in Windows 7. Couldn't they use that to listen for commands 24/7? That way we could be writing code, working on a spreadsheet, or even hanging out with friends and be able to use Google voice whenever it's convenient.

    What they have now is a step in the right direction, but until it's fully integrated I'm uninstalling it and reclaiming that 90MB of RAM. If we're going to have our computers suck up 90MB of RAM all the time, we darn well better be able to use that extension all of the time!!

    90MB.... Wow! As a comparison, Visual Studio only uses 50MB!

  • selçuk kubur

    Works great turkey ...

  • http://www.skiusainc.com/ Ehtesham Shaikh

    I had never realize about Google Speak. I tried it's marvelous. I think within few days i will be saying to Google that my head is paining please suggest some medicine. So based on the data collected by Google about me, he might suggest some medicine to me.

  • Dubstrobe

    C'mon, Firefox.

  • Smeltn

    I can't get it to work with contacts or reminders, etc.. Works great with standard search but when I say "ok Google, Remind me to buy milk tomorrow" it opens up a good search page with the results for remind me to buy milk tomorrow

    Any ideas how to fix this?

  • SuperSam64

    This is really cool. For those interested, it also sets reminders and calendar events like its Android counterpart. If anyone knows of anything else it does please post it.

  • JC

    It works everywhere, follow this video. it has subs

  • Zain A

    how do you make the okay google work in the new tab page