Smartphones have changed the computing landscape quite a bit, and it often seems like desktop computers and laptops get left behind. 'Always-on' voice search is going to completely change the way we interact with computers, but, until now, it has been strictly-mobile only.
Today, Google released a Chrome extension that enables always-on voice search from a desktop. With the extension installed, voice search works just like it does on the Nexus 5. When Google.com is open, just say 'Ok Google' and then your search term.
The hotword even works when you're already on a search page. You can just say 'Ok Google' again and search for something else. It all feels like a step closer to the Star Trek future Google keeps promising us.
The Chrome extension is probably just a temporary measure-a lot of the hotword code is built into Google.com already. HTML5 allows browsers to natively capture microphone input, and it's even possible to do it as soon as the page loads. The only problem is that, currently, you have to explicitly give a Web page permission to access the microphone every time the page loads. Chrome is really just missing an 'always allow' button for the microphone permission, and 'always-on' listening could work without having to install anything. The extension solves the permission problem and gives users a good way to explicitly enable an always-listening Google.com.