Only days after Microsoft Internet Explorer 9 was unleashed, and on the same day Firefox 4 was unveiled – both touting accelerated speeds and advanced security features – Google released the next version of Chrome, version 11 beta, that is Google’s attempt at getting a leg up on the competition. Google Chrome 11 beta offers not only a new icon, but also a a voice-to-text feature for HTML 5 web apps with speech recognition. In other words, Google Chrome 11 will allow you to talk to your computer. Chrome 11 beta also features GPU-accelerated 3D effects in CSS, which will make it easier for developers to create better animations on web pages and might solve the Google Chrome speed problems Microsoft demonstrated at the IE 9 launch.
The new text-to-voice API in Google Chrome 11 beta gives developers the ability to transcribe your voice to text in web apps. According to the Official Chrome Blog, when a web page uses this feature, you simply click on an icon (usually a microphone) and then speak into your computer’s microphone. The recorded audio is sent to speech servers for transcription, after which the text is typed out for you. This all happens relatively instantaneously, although I hope it works more consistently than the text-to-speech features of my Android phone.
To talk to your computer with Chrome 11 beta, just download Google Chrome 11 beta and visit a Web page supporting the HTML speech input API. Once you’ve downloaded and installed Chrome 11 Beta, you can see how this works and test the functionality here.
Expect to see the HTML speech input API implemented in the near future in the next stable version of Chrome. Other Google apps may also integrate this functionality, just like Google core apps have done on the Android platform. Just imagine being able to talk to Google apps such as Gmail and Google Docs. One thing to note is the speech input API will not recognize swear words. Any attempt at vulgarities will translate to “New York,” much like the the Google Translate app from Google released last year, so if you must talk dirty to your computer, you’ll have to continue to type it in for now.