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I'm Feeling LUCKY OR LAZY™? Chrome gets hands-free voice search

When that finger simply cannot possibly be lifted

Photo of the KitKat mascot among the Android lawn statues

Google has developed a Chrome plugin to allow desktop users to activate the browser's voice-controlled web search feature just by saying "OK, Google".

The advertising giant said the "hotword" will start a Google search without any clicking or typing in of queries required. Users just have to say "OK Google" followed by a search query out loud; the speech is picked up by the computer's microphone and processed in the Google cloud. The tool can also execute simple instructions such as setting a timer.

The voice-activation feature is available for some Android-powered gear (such as the Nexus 5 smartphone) and Google Glass goggles – although the latter is activated by saying "Ok, glass".

Originally seen as a challenger to Apple's voice-controlled personal assistant Siri, Google's voice search technology has moved beyond Android gadgets, and into desktop PCs.

By porting hotword activation to its desktop browser, Google – once famous for its "I'm feeling lucky" button – hopes to encourage more people to use Chrome's voice search tool, which admittedly has been available in the desktop application for some time now.

On the other hand, this plugin exercise may remind privacy-conscious people to switch off the microphone and voice search in Google's web browser.

To install and use the "OK, Google" utility, users will need the Chrome browser and a trip to Google's online store. ®

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