Google touts speech in new Chrome beta, releases API for devs

Chrome finds its voice with a new API from Google lets developers add speech recognition to web apps.

Google has taken the wraps off the latest beta of Chrome, and is touting the concept of voice-driven web apps to developers.

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Chrome 25 was released on Monday, and comes with a new Web Speech API providing developers the tools to build speech-to-text features into their own web apps

The new API provides scope for using voice in gaming, or as Google suggests in a demo, the ability to dictate a document directly to a browser, which can then be transferred to an email application.

The API lets developers use scripting to generate text-to-speech and use speech recognition as an input for forms, continuous dictation and control, Google said in the W3C specification for the API.

Web apps using the API raises obvious security considerations, the specification says: speech input sessions should only be started with "explicit, informed user consent", while there needs to be an "obvious indication" when audio is being recorded.

The latest Chrome beta also comes with a number of security enhancements, including an effort to rein in abuse by third parties that have added extensions to Chrome on Windows without user consent.

Chrome 25 will automatically disable offending browser extensions, however users will be provided with a notification offering the option to re-enable the affected extension.

The browser also includes improved features to protect against cross-site scripting attacks. Developers will be able to use the "unprefixed" Content Security Policy HTTP header to define a whitelist of "trusted sources", preventing the browser from rendering content from sources outside that list.

Google also last week introduced a beta channel for Chrome for Android, aligning improvements in its mobile browser with those that arrive for its desktop products. Android 4+ users can run the Beta browser alongside current versions of the Chrome for Android.