Not everyone can type with lightning speed, and even if you can, voice control extensions provide a faster text entry in many situations especially ones where your hands are occupied with something else. And let’s not forget that sometimes your hands need a break.
You should also understand that some users are entirely tech savvy. You might have a grandma, mom or dad who, by some chance, haven’t kept up with today’s technology. Using their voice to explore the web is a way of familiarizing with the technology, after all, using the mouse does take some time getting used to. It does have some nuisance to it.
Let’s also not forget the potential for multitasking. You could be toiling away on a mobile device while your computer is hooked up with voice commands. The possibilities are quite unique.
Looking on the Chrome Web Store
If you’re going to start anywhere, it’s in the Chrome Web Store. The Chrome Web Store is where you go to install extensions to your Google Chrome browser, such as Dropbox, Google Hangouts, Google Keep and so on. But, more importantly, it has extensions you can add to Google Chrome that allow you to use voice commands.
Now, searching on the Chrome Web Store for voice control extensions is going to give you quite a number of results. So, below are a few voice command extensions that you can take a look at rather than thumbing through hundreds of search results you’ll get.
Chrome Voice Assistant
If you’re familiar with the way Google Assistant works, then you’ll be instantly familiar with Chrome Voice Assistant. When you want to use Google Assistant, you say “OK, Google,” or say, “Hey, Google.” Chrome Voice Assistant works in a similar fashion, waking it up with the phrase, “Hey, buddy.”
You have access to a lot of different voice commands, such as:
- Browser tab manipulation, like pinning, muting, and so on.
- Media player commands
- Maps and directions
- Roam Wikipedia
- Quick links
- And yes, searching
Now, the above are just categories. Those categories encompass different commands. For example, media player commands include such commands like pause, stop, resume, volume up and down, skipping portions of the video, and so on.
Speech Recognition Anywhere
Speech Recognition Anywhere has quite a number of features, but many of them are locked behind a paywall. To be fair, you do get a sizeable number of free commands, like:
- Choose between dozens of languages and dialects for speech recognition
- Dictate emails and online documents
- Fill in forms with your voice
- Go to the next or previous field with your voice
- Go to any web page with your voice
- Switch tabs and navigate webpages with your voice
- Scroll page up or down
- Click links and buttons with your voice
- Cut, Copy, Paste, Clear, Highlight
- Say “Show labels” to see labels to buttons on a webpage
- Say “Play (name of artist or song)” to play music instantly
- Text to Speech (tts)
- Three custom voice commands
One such command that’s locked behind the paywall is voice activation wake up phrase, a command that’s free with Chrome Voice Assistant. If you had to choose, Chrome Voice Assistant is just as good, and better for your wallet.
Setting Up Your Voice Assistant
Because every voice assistant is going to be different, Chrome Voice Assistant will be used to showcase the steps.
1. Head over to the Chrome Web Store. In the top left corner of the page, click on the search bar and search for “Chrome Voice Assistant.” In the search results, click Add to Chrome.
2. When prompted, Google Chrome will ask if you truly want to add an extension to your browser and give you an overview of what it will have access to. If you do, click Add Extension.
3. When prompted, your voice assistant will ask to access your microphone. If you block access, it will not hear your voice commands. Click Allow.
Now that Chrome Voice Assistant has been installed, you’ll see a small microphone icon in the top right corner of your Google Chrome browser. If you don’t want to use your voice for searching, you can use that icon.
What’s great about Chrome Voice Assistant is that voice command are already built into the extension. There’s no setup required. Try a voice command like, “Hey, buddy. Video games.” It will take that command and treat it as a search command.
Chrome Voice Assistant isn’t the only voice assistant out there for Google Chrome, but due to it being free and still managing to be responsive, it’s one of the best options out there. You can close your tabs, gain access to keyboard shortcuts, and it’s still being patched to this day–it’s last patch being on August 23, 2019 as of the writing of this article.