As the past several years have demonstrated, voice is now an important interaction method that’s increasingly natural for users. But before Assistant, Google Search has long featured voice lookup on the web, and it’s now available on the mobile version of google.com.
The feature appears as a new microphone icon in the search field of google.com. Unlike on the desktop web, the icon is generic and gray instead of sporting the four Google colors. It appears both on the homepage — with Google Discover — and on every Search results page in the pill-shaped Material Theme bar.
Functionality-wise, voice search on mobile is quite straightforward. Tapping the microphone opens a fullscreen interface that users can close via a top-right button. “Speak now” appears first and is followed by “Listening…” once audio is detected, with live transcription also featured.
Once complete, the query is processed and your search results appear. Direct questions like “what’s the weather” will yield an accompanying voice response, but more generic queries will just load the results.The interface is always fullscreen on mobile with the desktop results page sporting a bar that only takes up a fourth of the screen.
At the moment, voice search is widely rolled out on Chrome for Android and began appearing over the past week. Users have to grant the necessary browser permission to google.com on initial use, while Chrome displays a system-level Android notification in the status bar noting that audio input is currently active. However, this feature is not available on Safari for iOS or even Firefox for Android.
There are a multitude of ways to perform voice search on Android from Assistant and the Google app to Chrome’s Omnibar and Gboard. Regardless, the latest method should be familiar to users of desktop Search.
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