Google has had voice search available for mobile for quite some time, but today at its Inside Search event, the company announced that it is bringing it to the desktop as well.
To use the feature, you will click a button off to the side of the search box, and speak your query. Obviously, you'll need a mic.
To be honest, I'm not sure how often I would find myself using voice search from the desktop. Quite frankly, I don't use it from my mobile device all that often. It's just easier to type it, even from mobile, because all too often, it voice search doesn't get the query right. I'm sure this will improve over time, and has already improved since it was first introduced, but I'll still probably go to typing by default in most cases - especially on the desktop. That said, the feature has tremendous advantages in terms of accessibility for the disabled.
"We train our systems on massive amounts of data," Google says. "You cover the differences in pronunciation with learning algorithms." More from Google's blog post about it:
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.
For now, voice search from the desktop will only be available for Chrome, as it takes advantage of Chrome's speech technology. It will be rolling out this week for all Chrome users in English. It really illustrates an interesting strategy of Google's to enable new features to its core search product using its browser, which should only serve to generate more interest in the browser, which could also inspire more interest in its recently launched Chrome OS operating system.
Google's Chromebooks come out tomorrow.