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Hands-free help: Google Chrome extension enables search by voice

Google has released an extension for its Chrome browser that will allow users to search the Internet with voice commands.

With Google Voice Search Hotword, users can begin a search by simply saying the words "OK Google." Essentially it's a hands-free search.

After users install the extension on their browser, they can use it when they are on Google.com. The feature can be used only on computers with microphones.

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After saying "OK Google" users can then ask a question. Users can search based on keywords or they can do a more conversational search. That means users can ask questions like "How are the San Diego Chargers doing?" or "Show me pictures of tigers" and they will get search results as well an audio response.

"Now you can talk to Google when you’re using Chrome. Hands-free. No typing," the feature's description says.

By default, the extension comes set to stop listening for "OK Google" if it is inactive for more than five minutes. This is a setting Google put in place to save users' computer battery life, but users can choose to turn that off.

The hands-free search is new to computers, but that feature was introduced earlier this year on Android phones. Android devices running the latest version of the software, 4.4 KitKat, can also say "OK Google" whenever they are on the home screen of their device to start a hands-free search. 

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Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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