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'Ok Google' voice search extended to Chrome browser

Google has released a Chrome extension that brings the voice-activated "OK Google" command to the browser.

The Google Voice Search Hotword (Beta) extension is now available in the Chrome Web Store. When installed, it allows those on the desktop to speak their commands to the browser using the "OK Google" hotword.

In a Google+ post, the search giant said the new extension is ideal for preparing a large meal, such as the American celebration of Thanksgiving. "This year, rather than stopping midway through to wash your hands and type in a search, you can just speak to your laptop: 'Ok Google, how many ounces are in one cup?' Et voila, the cooking can go on," Google said.

The extension also supports reminders, so you can say "Ok Google, set a timer for 30 minutes."

Once installed, you'll have to give Chrome permission to access your computer's microphone. Then, a "Say OK Google" notice will appear in the search bar. When it recognises your voice, a red microphone will appear and Google will type what you say before giving you an answer.

In the reviews, some users said that they had to click the microphone icon on before it would accept a voice search, while others had no problems. A few, meanwhile, said it would be useful if the feature worked when you had another tab open.

For those who are worried about Google listening to all your conversations, the default setting will stop listening for "OK Google" commands after five minutes, which the search giant says saves battery life. A shaded microphone means that it's listening; the outline of a microphone means that it's not.

Google showed off voice commands for the desktop at its I/O developer conference in May. Hands-free "OK Google" has also rolled out on mobile for devices like the Motorola Droid lineup, the Moto X, and the Nexus 5.