Best Chrome Voice Search Extension

Users of Android and iOS devices will likely have encountered speech input (for dialing) and voice search (for quick Google searches) before – but what about voice search and speech input within the Google Chrome web browser?

Last year Google integrated voice search to Chrome. To see it in action, go to Google.com – you will see a small gray microphone on the right-hand side of the search box.

Click the microphone and a popup box appears asking you to say your search term. Your results show up just as if you had typed the search term (assuming you have a working microphone).

It works well but only on the English version of Google.com – not country specific Google sites or other searches e.g. in YouTube, Bing and Yahoo etc. Nor can you use it for non-search speech input e.g. to dictate a comment on a site like TechLogon.

Fortunately there are several extensions that add more features to the standard Chrome Voice Search – here are my top three, in order.

1. Oweb Voice Input

Features – Voice Input and Search. The outright winner of my review, it lets you input text by speaking in any web page. It adds the standard microphone icon to the search boxes of country specific Google sites, YouTube and most other search engines.

Crucially, it also adds the microphone icon to standard text input boxes meaning that you can dictate quite long messages, not just do simple searches e.g. you can dictate into the new message field on Facebook or into the comment field of blog articles like this one – as shown in my example below:

Chrome voice search

Oweb Voice Input – comment box example

Exceptionally, Oweb also provides the option to select any of 30 languages for the voice recognition, not just English.

Download from Chrome web store here.

2. Speechify

Features – Voice Search. With Speechify you can access many online services and use speech input to search and shop. Search Google, Hulu, Amazon, Youtube, and many more.

Although the voice search aspect works just as well as Oweb, it doesn’t have true voice input to non-search text fields i.e. it doesn’t work for comments and message forms. English only.

Download from Chrome web store here.

3. Voice Search

Features – Voice Search, integrated search tag services. This extension provides a method to search by speaking. Although the voice search aspect works just as well as Oweb, it doesn’t have true voice input to non-search text fields i.e. it doesn’t work for comments and message forms.

It does add a neat feature to Google searches as it comes pre-loaded with the following integrated search ‘tag’ services: Google, Wikipedia, YouTube, Bing, Yahoo, DuckDuckGo and Wolfram|Alpha – so if you specifically want pictures of dogs, say “google images dogs” or, to learn more about World War II, say “wikipedia world war two”.

Voice Search worked fine for me and the additional search tag feature should have put it into second place ahead of Speechify. The only reason I have pushed it down to third is because there are so many comments on the Chrome web store from people who found it didn’t work for them – it has much lower user ratings than Speechify and Oweb. English only.

Download from Chrome web store here.

Notes:

Just like the standard Google.com search feature, all the extensions require a working microphone – a headset mic may provide the best accuracy. Unlike premium dictation software, there is no opportunity for the voice recognition program to learn the patterns of your voice so the clarity of your speech is more important.

Unusual words or place/people names may result in unusual, sometimes amusing, results. Many four letter swear words are censored by Google’s voice recognition program i.e. it will asterisk out all except the first letter.

Conclusion

All the extensions provide decent voice search abilities with very similar interfaces.

However, Oweb Voice Input seems to be the best extension for Chrome. Not only does it provide the usual voice search facility but it also allows text input to non-search fields – Oweb was the only extension that would let me dictate a comment on this article and a new message on Facebook.

It is also the obvious choice for non-English speakers as it includes 30 languages to choose from.

1 Response to: "Best Chrome Voice Search Extension"

  1. Al Ott says:

    I posted Chrome the following “CHROME 42-WINDOWS 8.1- OWEB VOICE EXT I have posted a number of times about this is an extension called OWEB VOICE that I received from from Chrome Store. I have not been able to contact the seller of this extension through e-mails. I’ve not any gotten any feedback as about this extension from anyone here who has used it.There is no setup instructions there is. no icon for a microphone, and there is no place to login; so I don’t know how to use this at all, I was hoping maybe somebody how out here would know about this extension, I don’t know where else to turn right now? Any help would be appreciated. Al ” No reply. Thanks Al