Google Assistant Will Replace Voice Search in Chrome This Year
Google Assistant will take over voice searching in the Chrome browser this year, replacing the current voice search method, judging from two elements in the software first spotted by XDA. The changeover is a long time coming and represents one of the last major Google products to not incorporate Google Assistant.
Waiting for Google Assistant
Google Chrome has had a voice search option for a while now, with a little microphone icon in the search bar that would activate it. XDA found two new commits that indicate the change is coming. One had the topic “Assistant Voice Search” and discussed Chrome will use Google Assitant for voice searching, while the other commit explained how a new flag called Omnibox Assistant Voice Search will enable that functionality in Chrome on Android devices.
Google Assistant has been anticipated for Chrome for a long time at this point. Voicebot first reported that it was imminent more than a year ago. The company has been building up to it, adding Google Assistant to the Google app last year and incorporating it into the Pixel launcher. By making the voice assistant part of the Chrome browser, Google Assistant will largely complete its conquest of Google’s products.
Voice Search Online Competition
Google hasn’t officially said anything about the timeline for changing Google Chrome’s voice switch. It’s notable that reports started coming out about it right after Mozilla began testing a voice assistant for its Firefox browser. But, Chrome is by far the most popular web browser in the world, partly because of the proliferation of Android devices, so incorporating the voice assistant into its search system will expose a lot of people to Google Assistant. As Google Assistant’s larger strategy is to get people to use it in as many environments as possible, this could be a good introduction that leads to people buying smart speakers and other devices with Google Assistant.
Having Google Assistant in the browser won’t necessarily mean people don’t use other voice assistants while browsing. Individual websites might have their own voice assistants, built in-house or using platforms like speak2web, which offers a WordPress plugin for searching and shopping by voice within websites. The specificity of those voice assistants, which use indexed data on a website can make them easier to use, even if they are limited to those websites. The real battle in voice web searching may not be between browsers like Firefox and Chrome but between browser voice assistants and website voice assistants.