Chrome drops ‘OK Google’ voice search

It may feel like you are screaming into the void the next time you attempt to initiate a voice search on your computer by uttering “OK Google.”

With the latest iteration of its desktop browser, Chrome 46, Google has removed the ability to trigger a search with your voice on Windows, Mac and Linux systems.

Since Chrome 35 was introduced in May of last year, you have been able to start a search without clicking or typing. You needed only to say, “OK Google” when you were viewing a new tab or Google’s homepage. With Chrome 46 (version 46.0.2490.71, to be exact), you’ll need to click the colorful microphone icon located in the right edge of Google’s search bar to conduct a voice search.

According to VentureBeat, Google killed the feature because very few users were speaking to their computers. Privacy concerns were also an issue, with people worried Google was listening to conversations through their computer if “OK” and “Google” were said within close proximity to one another. With a full keyboard, I personally find it quicker and easier to search via typing than voice.

You can still use “OK Google” to start searches on mobile platforms and Chromebooks, VentureBeat reports. The feature still works on my Android tablet but only with the Google search app — not with Chrome 46. And it doesn’t work with either Chrome 45 or the Google search app on my iPhone.

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