How Does Google's Voice Search Feature Work?

For some time now, Google has made available a "Search by Voice" functionality on its search page. For those who haven't used it before, this post will explain how it works and how to use it.

I don't know exactly when Google introduced their voice search feature, probably a couple of years ago, but I know that there are still web users who have no idea about it, so I wanted create a short post to talk about how search by voice works. I remember when it first started in experiment phase, it was only available in the global Google site, http://www.google.com/, and some other English speaking country versions. In time, as it went through further testing and development, it became available on more local Google sites.

As far as I checked the other web browsers, search by voice feature is available only on Google Chrome at this time. It seems not to be available on Firefox and Safari.

How Does Google Voice Search Feature Work?

Obviously, you will nee a microphone to be able to use Google's voice search feature. If you don't have an external headset/microphone, a built-in microphone as most laptops or other devices come with will be enough too.

When you visit Google.com on Google Chrome browser, you will notice a microphone icon on the inner right side of the search box. When you bring your cursor over that icon, a small tooltip will pop up saying Search by voice.

Have You Ever Used Google's Voice Search Feature? - 1

(Google and the Google logo are registered trademarks of Google Inc., used with permission.)

If you click that icon, the browser will ask your permission to use your microphone. If you want to proceed with your voice search, click Allow. Not that you need to give that permission once and in your next visits, Google will remember your permission until you visit the site again.

Have You Ever Used Google's Voice Search Feature? - 2

Next, you will see a red microphone image and Speak Now text. It will wait for a couple of seconds for you to speak in order to record your voice and conduct the web search accordingly. If you wait for long, the voice search page will be deactivated and you will be sent back to the regular search page.

Have You Ever Used Google's Voice Search Feature? - 3

I do not use this feature at all as I prefer typing when doing searches but when I tried it a couple of times on my laptop which has a built in microphone with a low quality and considering the fact that I am not a native English speaker, Google does not always recognize the words I say. Anyway, you can try it by saying something that comes to your mind such as "web design", "css tutorials" etc. And you will be amazed how good it works if your accent is good and you have a high quality microphone.

It may not always catch the exact words you are saying, but you may get some funny funny results in your tests. For example, when I did a voice search for "shared web hosting", it returned me results about "children's clothing". I tried one more time and it returned web pages about "cheers in boston".

In my opinion, although the voice search still needs to be improved, I guess it is a pretty nice thing to have on a search engine. Though I will not be using it myself, I am sure many of you will find this feature to be useful useful.

So, what do you think about this new feature of Google? Did you try it yet? Does it recognize your voice correctly?

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