Google has stripped its Chrome browser of the hands-free “OK Google” voice command.
As noted by VentureBeat, Google got rid of the feature on the desktop because not many people were using it. The change does not affect Chrome on mobile orChromebooks.
The “OK Google” voice command arrived in November 2013 via a Chrome extension. When installed, it allowed those on the desktop to speak their commands to their laptop’s browser using the “OK Google” hotword. At the time, Google said it would be useful for quick answers when you had your hands full (like when you’re cooking).
But turns out, it’s more popular to speak to our mobile devices than our PCs. In the past two years, voice-activated mobile assistants, from Siri to Google Now to Cortana, have become more powerful and useful. So it’s more convenient to talk to your phone than to have your laptop on and open to Google.com on Chrome, awaiting your command.
The removal of “OK Google” comes with the launch of Chrome 46, whichalso says farewell to the Chrome notification center.
If you’ve had your browser open for a few days, you might still be able to use “OK Google” on Chrome. It was active on my PC a few minutes ago, but disappeared once I updated to Chrome 46 (Help and about > About Google Chrome) and re-launched the browser.