Since late last year, code commits hinted at a new system-wide text dictation feature coming to Chrome OS. At long last, it’s now live in the Chrome OS Canary channel.
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As detailed by François Beaufort, a Chromium Evangelist at Google, the new dictation functionality is different than the current process of using the on-screen keyboard.
To use the new dictation feature, you’ll first need to switch your Chromebook to the Canary channel (full tutorial here). From there, you will need to enable the experimental accessibility features by copy and pasting chrome://flags/#enable-experimental-accessibility-features into Chrome’s uni-bar. After flipping the switch and rebooting the browser, you should see a list of new features in Settings > Accessibility > Manage accessibility features.
Once the Dictation option is turned on, you should see a new mic icon in the system tray just left of the status icons. When you’re ready to use dictation, after clicking into a text field, launch the feature by either selecting the mic icon or by pressing a Search+D keyboard combination. Now, just start talking. It doesn’t appear to show text in real-time, but after you pause, the field will be populated.
You can see ChromeUnboxed’s video of the feature in action below.
Obviously, the feature is still in beta and might not pick up everything you say correctly. So, do you think this is something you’ll use on your Chromebook? Let us know in the comment section below.