Chrome Browser Update Offers Speech Recognition Support

Google’s Chrome Web browser is now giving end-users the chance to experiment with some exciting new features.

The browser took a big step forward in January when a beta version was given speech-recognition capabilities that promised integration with Web applications to give users new ways of getting tasks accomplished.

Speech Recognition

Now the latest stable release version of Google Chrome that’s available for free download, Version 25.0.1364.97, includes those voice-recognition capabilities for users to explore.

“Today’s Chrome Stable release includes support for the Web Speech API, which developers can use to integrate speech-recognition capabilities into their Web apps,” Glen Shires, a Google software engineer and speech specialist, wrote in a 21 February post on the Google Chrome Blog.

The new speech-recognition feature is truly impressive, allowing users to dictate an email to a recipient without having to make a single keystroke. The Web Speech API will now likely be used by other Web developers to build more pages and content that will allow users to ditch their keyboards for a wide range of functions.

In a simple test, the voice-recognition feature correctly interpreted every word spoken into a microphone and quickly typed them into an email. The speech-to-text recognition was accurate and fast, adding a useful, promising feature to the Chrome browser.

A demonstration of the new capability is visible in a demo that can be accessed using the latest Chrome browser.

The new Chrome 25 stable release also disables silent extension installs in Chrome for Windows, which means that Chrome won’t install any extensions without first asking the user for permission to make the changes. That’s a security feature to keep extensions from causing harm to a user’s machine, according to Shires.

The speech-recognition feature was unveiled in a beta version of the browser in January by Google as a promising way to let users give voice commands to complete an assortment of tasks in the browser.

The capability is just as useful in the browser as it can be on a smartphone. Other envisioned capabilities include the dictation of complete documents or using voice commands to participate in online computer games.

Browser Improvements

Google is always seemingly hard at work making improvements to the Chrome browser – which, according to the latest December 2012 statistics from, leads Microsoft’s Internet Explorer browser in global share. Chrome holds 29.4 percent of the market, compared with IE’s 27.8 percent share. Mozilla Firefox trailed with 20.1 percent, followed by Apple Safari at 14.8 percent and Opera at 2.5 percent.

In June 2012, when Chrome unseated Internet Explorer for Web supremacy for the first time, it was a watershed moment for the young browser. StatCounter data from more than 15 billion page views (4 billion from the United States and 850 million from the United Kingdom) for the full month of May 2012 showed Chrome took 32.43 percent of the worldwide market, compared with 32.12 percent for IE and 25.55 percent for Firefox.

Chrome 23 arrived in November 2012, about two months after the late-September release of the Google Chrome 22 browser, which introduced 3D gaming improvements and 24 security fixes. Chrome 22 included a Pointer Lock JavaScript API (also called Mouse Lock) that allows more accurate gaming while using a computer mouse. Chrome 22 also introduced Windows 8 enhancements and continuing improvements to the browser’s interoperability with Apple’s Retina screen technologies. The Retina screen support was first added to Chrome 21 in August 2012.

The Chrome browser, which celebrated its fourth birthday in September 2012, took on such established Web browsers as Mozilla’s Firefox, Internet Explorer and Apple’s Safari.

Are you fluent in the language of the Internet? Take our quiz!

Originally published on eWeek.

Todd R. Weiss

Freelance Technology Reporter for TechWeekEurope and eWeek

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