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Wednesday, May 22, 2013, 02:33 pm PT (05:33 pm ET)

Google to activate voice search in Chrome iOS app

In a post to its Chrome blog on Wednesday, Google announced plans to bring intuitive voice searches directly into the Chrome Web browser for iOS.

Chrome


The move, yet another sign that the Internet search giant is looking to directly compete with Apple on its home turf, could pave the way for an all-in-one app that consolidates the features of Google's other iOS apps.

Chrome's mobile browser allows users to complete queries from the omnibox, or Google's term for the multi-function text box that serves as an input field for URLs and general search terms.

The feature will be akin to Apple's own Siri virtual assistant, the post says. Users press a microphone icon and speak the query to see results pop up on screen. In some cases, the app will respond with text to speech answers, though Google was unclear as to what questions would receive such treatment.

Voice search in Chrome should roll in much, if not all, of the functionality seen in the standalone Google Search app.

From the blog post:
Try these queries with the update (coming soon to the App Store):
  • “How many miles from San Antonio to Dallas?”
  • “What’s the weather in Rome?”
  • “Who stars in The Internship?”

In addition to the buffed search capabilities, Chrome for iOS is also said to use caching more efficiently for faster webpage reloading, and an option to open links from other apps in Chrome, then switch back with a single tap.

The news comes on the heels of Google's recent update to Chrome for OS X, which now features conversational voice search functions when visiting Google.com. Users can click on the microphone in the search bar to "converse" with the automated system. For example, the question, "Who is the CEO of Apple," yielded the spoken answer, "The CEO of Apple Inc., is Timothy D. Cook." A follow question, "How old is he," was answered, "Timothy D. Cook is 52 years old."

While a firm release date hasn't been set for the iOS version of Chrome, Google said the update will begin rolling out "in the coming days" for both iPhone and iPad.