Google has announced the release of Chrome version 27, which brings faster search and quietly introduces a new dictation feature that lets people start a spoken 'conversation' with Google.
Installing the latest version of Chrome on the desktop lets users ask Google what the weather is like in a particular city and get a spoken reply. As Google demoed recently at its I/O conference, people can continue the conversation from there with follow up questions like 'how far it is to that destination?'.
A 'conversation' with Google search can be activated by clicking the microphone icon to the right of the search box that appears in Chrome 27. If the topic is large enough, such as the size of a nation's population, the spoken reply is coupled with information cards supported by Google's Knowledge Graph.
As Search Engine Land points out, conversations with Google work well for some lines of querying, like the age of Barack Obama, who his wife is, and from there how old Michelle Obama is. But it often stumbles the deeper the conversation goes.
The feature was introduced quietly: Google did not announce its inclusion as part of the release of Chrome 27 on Tuesday.
The latest version of Chrome also loads webpages five percent faster and contains a new API for developers of Chrome Store 'packaged apps' that enable offline functionality. Developers can use the chrome.synchFileSystem API to save and sync data on Google Drive.
Chrome 27 fixes 14 security flaws, which Google awarded researchers a total of $14,633 for reporting. Only one flaw, a 'memory safety issue' affecting Web Audio, was awarded the top bounty of $3,133.70.