Google released Google Chrome Version 46.0, adding new developer features and simplifying the page’s security icon.
The biggest change appears to be the removal of a feature: The “OK Google” hotword to trigger voice search is out.
Google first launched an “OK Google” voice search Chrome extension in November 2013. The company then built the feature directly into the browser with the release of Chrome 35 in May 2014. Chrome users simply had to visit Google.com, or open a tab if Google was their default search engine, and say “Ok Google” to start searching.
The removal of this feature only affects the desktop version of Chrome: Windows, Mac, and Linux users no longer have the ability to use the “OK Google” voice action.
Users of Chrome for mobile, as well as Chromebooks, will still be able to say “OK Google” and start searching.
This doesn’t mean voice search in Chrome for desktop is going away. You can still access the functionality on the New Tab Page and on any Google.com page — you’ll just have to click on the mic icon first.
Google decided to talk yank it because not many users were taking advantage of the feature “on these platforms.”
Google gave a similar explanation this week when it announced that Chrome for desktop would be losing the notification center. “In practice, few users visit the notification center,” it said. That removal will occur with the release of Chrome 47, which is slated to arrive in about six weeks.
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