In a recent article from Chrome Story, we’ve learned that system-wide dictation is set to come to Chrome OS in the future. The commit we’re looking at today is 10 days old at this point and makes it quite clear that this is the initial version and is a prototype.
That being said, don’t hold your breath that we’ll see this in the next update. We’ll certainly be tracking this to try to gain a timeframe, though.
Looking through the comments, it seems they might go ahead and make this a working feature hidden behind a flag. If they go that route, we may see a usable version of this sooner rather than later.
Why This Is Important
I’m not sure about you, but dictation is something I use every single day on my phone. Whether it is responding to a message, replying to a quick email, or taking a note in Keep, I love the ability to hit the microphone on my keyboard and simply say what I want to type. As long as you speak clearly and annunciate your punctuation, you can create paragraphs of content in very small amounts of time.
Dictation on the desktop isn’t really a new thing as you can do it via Google Docs or via 3rd-party extensions (we’ve not expressly covered those things, but will soon), but this would make the feature work system-wide with a simple key combo. Take a look at the language in the commit:
Support dictation on Chrome OS (initial version/prototype)
– bound to ctrl+alt+s
– each invocation triggers a new dictation session
– sound icon prompts for user to start dictating
– silence triggers dictation completion and recognition result
With the language recognition prowess Google has established in the past few years, voice typing via dictation has become a very simple and reliable way to get text into your device. As I said above, I use it often and miss it when on my Chromebook.
Looks like I won’t have to wait too much longer.
How It Will Work
The interface looks like it will stay quite simple. From the commit, it seems you’ll only need to hit the CTRL+ALT+S key combo to invoke dictation. You’ll likely hear the same sound you hear when you call on the Assistant to tell you the Chromebook is listening, accompanied with some sort of visual icon to let you know it’s time to talk.
From there, I’d assume text entry will happen as you speak like it does in Google Docs or Android and will halt once you stop speaking for a couple seconds.
As long as the behavior is pretty close to any of the existing implementations available, I’ll be happy with it. How about you? Do you use dictation? Will the addition to Chrome OS be useful for you?
Let us know in the comments!