MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA- Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) The search giant has killed off the ‘OK Google’ voice assistance feature from its Chrome browser.
Google seems to be on a general mood of changes, as the company has announced that it will soon be getting rid of a second feature – the first one is Chrome’s notification centre.
In more details, with the release of this week’s Chrome update, the Chrome 46, the browser came out one feature lighter, which was the ‘Ok Google‘; the feature that allows the user to make a voice search using verbal commands. So from now on, saying “Ok Google” will do nothing for you on Chrome, whether you’re using Windows, Mac OS X or Linux. Thankfully, the feature still works on Android smartphones and Chromebooks.
Google’s explanation for removing the only voice interaction that the user could have with his browser – at least before Edge and Cortana came along – is that it’s not really useful for a desktop computer. It may seem like an insufficient reason to remove a whole feature for, but come to think about it, it takes too many resources, money, time and effort from developers and systems – which means both humans and machines – to simply maintain and update a feature that is rarely used by a negligible number of users.
Maybe all those resources could be better used on a more promising feature or project, such as the Google Now assistant, which is not that far from the “Ok Google” feature.
On the bright side, at least your PC won’t come to life every time you make a voice search on your Android smartphone or play an ad where the speaker says the magic words. In general, speaking to your computer is something that most of us are not quite used to yet. In fact, the whole text to speech concept has come a long way during the last few years but surely needs to go some more.
For those of you who wish to keep using the said feature, you can probably expect Google to make it an extension, just like when it was first introduced. And in case that doesn’t happen, no big deal. Voice search will still be available; the only difference is that you will actually have to click on the mic icon to activate it. How tiring could one click get?
Photo credit: Field Guide.Gizmodo