If you have played with the new Nexus 5, or otherwise managed to get your hands on Android 4.4, better known as KitKat, then you’ve notice some rather serious alterations. Most notable will be the launcher, which changes the look and feel of the mobile operating system considerably.
However, another notable feature built into the latest version of Android is the “OK Google” option. Simply speak the words and the phone springs to life and awaits your command. Now Google is bringing that functionality to your computer, via an extension for the Chrome web browser (and also compatible in the browser on Chromebook computers).
If you aren’t familiar with the new feature, then here is a nutshell description. ‘OK Google’ is a part of the new search bar in Android 4.4. Simply have the phone, or tablet, on and say the words “OK Google” and it is instantly alert for what comes next — ask for the weather for your location, about a movie, or do a search, it all works.
Like any Chrome setting or extension, once you install it, it propagates across all of the computer on which you have installed Chrome and are logged into your Google account.
Once that installation is out of the way, you won’t notice any immediate changes — there is no new icon on your menu bar, for instance. But, when you head to Google.com you will find that it now looks very much like your Android 4.4 home screen.
In brief testing, I found the new service is very responsive, at least initially. When you say “OK Google” then it immediately responds, but not all searches worked perfectly, as they do on Android 4.4. For instance, I asked for local weather on the Nexus 5 and through this, but only received an accurate response on the Nexus 5. However, there seem to be some tricks to phrasing the question, and I got it working in no time. Like on Android, it talks back to you with its answer.