Google Voice Search for desktop computers has just been launched, allowing you to talk to Google and tell it what you want. While you will need a built-in microphone or headset to use it, Voice Search is a pretty big leap in the evolution towards a more natural search interface.
While technology similar to this is already available to smartphone users, this is a first for desktops. By simply clicking on the microphone icon in the Google search box while using Chrome, users can order the mighty search engine to do their bidding.
Google describe the new technology in a recent blog post:
You’ve been able to use Voice Search on mobile devices since 2008, but you’re probably so used to typing your searches that you don’t immediately think to use your voice. With Voice Search now available on desktop, searching by voice is becoming more ubiquitous and the idea of being able to speak your search will be more familiar, no matter what you’re searching for.
Voice Search can be especially useful for long queries such as [pictures of big wave surfing in Waimea Bay] or words that are hard to spell like [Schenectady, New York]. It’s also a helpful option if you’re in a conversational mood and you’d rather ask your question out loud than think of the keywords to type. For example, maybe you just to find “a recipe for spaghetti with bolognese sauce.” Just click the microphone icon in the search box and ask out loud.
While this is pretty exciting new technology, it does come with some limitations. For example, it will only work with the Chrome browser, and is only available in U.S English at this stage. However, it does have some cool features like allowing you to directly speak maths equations and get instant answers. Google Voice Search is rolling out at the moment, with some places likely to see it before others.