OK Google voice search removed from Google Chrome for Desktops
Google has removed another feature from the desktop version of its Chrome browser.
This time it is the support for the voice activated command, “OK Google”.
The Ok Google Voice Search was introduced back in May 2014, about 10 Chrome versions earlier (i.e. Chrome 35), and lasted for barely 20 months.
Android smartphone (and tablet) users will be very familiar with the phrase, which is often referred to as the OK Google hotword. It is similar to Microsoft’s Cortana and Apple’s Siri, and allows the users to search for content online.
This also happens to be the second desktop feature to be removed from Google Chrome within just a few days. Last week, the Mountain View company, removed support for the Chrome Notification Center. And as I mentioned in previous write up, Google only removed the Desktop Notification Center from Windows, Mac and Linux. The Google Chromebook devices which run on Chrome OS, still has the feature. Well, that applies to the OK Google voice search as well, according to a report on the Engadget blog.
Initially, I thought it would have been to help the browser be more RAM and Battery friendly, but this appears to be a different one. But the removal of the OK Google phrase suggests that Google could be using these features as “Chromebook” exclusive ones, to attract more users to buy the devices. It is not wrong per se, as most people don’t use the voice search or Notification Center on their PCs, that’s what they have their Android smartphones for.
Google has not officially stated that it has removed the feature from Chrome, at least not directly. So, what is likely is that the feature probably had few users, similar to the Notification Center, which was why Google said it removed that in the first place. But it’s realy a shame to see a feature being killed off completely, perhaps Google should release an extension to enable the feature.
Google Chrome 46 and above will no longer support the OK Google Voice Search command by default. But you can click on the multi-coloured microphone icon in the search box at Google.com, to start a voice search.
Well, at least Windows 10 users still have Cortana as a great backup option. Besides removing a rather useful feature, Google also managed to include a slew of bug fixes in Chrome 46. You can read more about those fixes at the official announcement page.