Chrome 11, the browser you can talk to

March 23, 2011: 1:29 AM ET

Google updated its browser again today with a pretty significant new feature.

Google's (GOOG)  newest browser, Chrome 11 Beta, has the ability to understand the spoken word.  This isn't just a Java Plugin or Flash tool either.  This is all done in HTML5 with something called the HTML5 speech input API.

Today, we're updating the Chrome beta channel with a couple of new capabilities, especially for web developers. Fresh from the work that we've been doing with the HTML Speech Incubator Group, we've added support for the HTML5 speech input API. With this API, developers can give web apps the ability to transcribe your voice to text. When a web page uses this feature, you simply click on an icon and then speak into your computer's microphone. The recorded audio is sent to speech servers for transcription, after which the text is typed out for you. Try it out yourself in this little demo. Today's beta release also offers a sneak peek of GPU-accelerated 3D CSS, which allows developers to apply slick 3D effects to web page content using CSS.

Speech is a pretty big deal in browsers. Google could add a speech recognition engine to Google Docs that would allow speech to become the source of text input.  Also, web apps that could be used while driving would be a great use for speech recognition and could do wonders for the blind as well.

You can currently do voice recognition without using a beta with Chrome's Voice Recognition search extension as well.

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About This Author
Seth Weintraub
Seth Weintraub

Google went from searching the Web to worming its way into nearly every facet of business and government. Seth Weintraub unveils where the company is going, who it's competing with, who it's about to compete with and how market forces push the company to veer or adhere to its Don't Be Evil motto. For 15 years, Weintraub was a global IT director for a number of companies before becoming a blogger.

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