Google I/O 2013: “Hotwording” Voice Searching Coming to Chrome

It seemed strange when Amit Singhal, Google’s senior vice-president and software engineer started his search presentation with talk of Star Trek and its incredible ship’s computer. But it made much more sense as the presentation advanced. Along with several other exciting features (which we’ll, of course, be looking at in greater depth as I/O goes on) “hotword” voice searching is coming to Chrome browser and Chrome OS!

We’ve been talking to our devices for a while and but never in such a conversational way, and never with such powerful results. Also, Google Now-like featutres are also rolling out to Chrome too. Google’s improved search will let you search anything and then find related emails and calendars, etc. So, on any device that uses Chrome, people will be able to say “Okay, Google,” and request information. This is similar to the concept of Siri, but it works and it’s fast!

Google’s vice-president of Search and Assist for Mobile, Johanna Wright gave us a live demonstration of these new features.  She started out by saying, “I have never tried hotwording in a room with so much ambient noise.” But it wasn’t an issue at all, as she planned her next trip to Santa Cruz, California with Google Now, down to which of her children were tall enough to ride a rollercoaster. She never typed a single word, and everything work incredibly well in real time.

Impressive stuff. Apple, your move.



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