Give voice commands to your Chromebook using voice dictations and "OK Google."

Hot Tip #2: Use Your Chromebook’s Voice Dictation for Speech-To-Text, OK Google, and More.

Did you just get a Chromebook? Are you already an owner? How about another sweet and cool Hot Tip to save you some time and energy?

As you already know, voice control (or voice dictation) is a huge thing now no matter what device you’re using. Smartphones, computers, laptops, and even cars all utilize the handy feature. The thing is, no one seems to be using it.

For the smartphone, I can see why. No one wants to talk to their phone out loud in public.

For the Chromebook, I can’t see why not. If you’re alone or just comfortable talking to your laptop, you can save a lot of time simply by dictating to it. So why not take advantage of the technology that’s already built into your Chromebook and there for you? I mean, you technically paid for it. So use it. It’ll be of good use if you just give it a chance to run.

It’s not as advanced as Windows’ Cortana, but it’s improving. Personally, I’ve seen it incorporate more and more searches to the point where it’s basically now my virtual assistant. The Chromebook’s voice dictation works well.


How to enable Chromebook voice dictation

So, let’s get started. Here’s a Hot Tip on using the voice commands with your Chromebook. This feature works on Chromebooks, and Chrome on Windows and Macs as well.

First, you’ll want to actually enable it.

Go to your Settings page. You can do this in one of three ways:

  • Click on the status area (bottom-right corner where your Google Account picture is), and then click on “Settings.”
  • Open up Chrome Web Browser, click on the menu (top-right corner where the three dots are), and then click on “Settings” from the drop-down menu.
  • Type in “chrome://settings” into the address bar.
Enable Chromebook voice search and speech to text.
Enable your Chromebook’s voice dictation to use voice search or speech-to-text.

Okay, so you’ve opened up your Settings page. Look for the “Search” subsection.

Now find the section labeled “Enable ‘OK Google’ to start a voice search.” Tick it.

Congrats. You’ve now enabled voice search on your Chromebook.

It’ll prompt you to ask for permission to access your microphone, but this is only for the first time you enable it.


Talk to your Chromebook

So now that your Chromebook’s voice detector is on and listening for your command, what can you do with it?

Well, for starters, you can now say “OK Google” when you open a new tab. Google will listen to your voice and you can search for whatever you want. Simply dictate your search keywords, then your Chromebook will automatically search for it and show you the search results.

You can also use voice commands on Google’s homepage.

It also works in the App Launcher. If you click on the Launcher icon (bottom-left of the screen), you’ll get a popup box with all your installed apps. You can say “OK Google” and search for apps you’ve installed and launch them. You can also search Google from this screen, as the Launcher is a multipurpose tool. It searches your apps and Google simultaneously.

It even works with partial keywords. If you’re searching for “angry birds” you can simply say “angry” and it’ll show you live search results for “angry” on Google and any apps you have installed that matches “angry,” such as “angry birds.”

Note that you can also access the Launcher by pressing the Finder Key, which is the magnifying glass icon on your keyboard (where “Caps Lock” is on a typical keyboard).

Pretty cool, huh?

You can also use “OK Google” for other, more personal, searches. It can search your emails, your calendar, and even local searches. This means you can ask your Chromebook almost anything, from searches like “show me nearby restaurants” or “when’s my next meeting?” or “what’s the weather next week?” or even “show me my unread emails.”


Enable speech-to-text

You can also have your Chromebook translate all your words into that you speak into text. You can do this with apps such as Voice Note II.

It’ll allow you to speak to your laptop and it’ll transcribe everything you say into text on your screen. This is extremely useful for productivity, as you don’t have to type out everything and speaking is a lot faster. The only catch is that you’ll have to click on punctuation marks, or go back and splice them in.

But, if you’re working on an essay or report, speech-to-text saves a ton of time.

You can grab the app here from the Chrome Web Store. It’s free to use and does it what’s on the tin.


Tired of saying “OK Google” in the right menu? OK, that’s enough.

You can easily eliminate the need to be in the Launcher, a new tab, or Google’s homepage every time you want to use voice commands on your Chromebook.



Turn on “always listening.”


This feature basically has your Chromebook constantly monitor your dictations whether or not you’re in the proper menus for a voice search or not.

Here’s how to enable it:

Step 1: Open Chrome Web Browser

Step 2: Type in chrome://flags/#enable-hotword-hardware” in the address bar and hit Enter

Step 3: Find “Enable simulated hardware ‘OK Google’ features” and tick “Enable”

Step 4: After it’s enabled, restart your Chromebook because it may not work without a restart

Step 5: Go to your Settings page again (see above for steps on finding where the Settings menu is) and check the box for enabling “OK Google” to start a voice search

Step 6: Your Chromebook will then ask you to say “OK Google” three times

Now your Chromebook’s voice detector will constantly listen for your voice. When you say “OK Google,” you can simply input a search phrase by your voice without having to open any specific menu or tab. This will save you time because you can talk to your laptop anywhere, no matter which menu or screen you’re currently viewing.

Nifty, huh? Oh yes.


Did you like that Chromebook tip?

Well, there you have it. Your Chromebook has this feature built-in, so you might as well use it. I didn’t want to use it at first, but after I started getting into the habit of using voice commands, I’ve grown used to it. It saves tons of time. And then I turned on always listening, so now it really saves time. Just try it out for a bit and see how convenient it is. I don’t know about you, but I can’t type as fast as I talk. So it’s a convenient little feature that’s often overlooked. That’s why this is a Hot Tip.

Did you miss the previous tip? You can check out the previous Chromebook Hot Tip, if you like.

Got any other tips with voice dictations? Leave them in the comments and help your fellow Chromies.

About Andy Z.

Andy is a casual-hardcore Chrome OS fan and contributes to the site regularly. He likes computers, tech, sports cars, videogames, and of course, Chromebooks. Thinker. Introvert. Geek. You can find him on Twitter (@platytech), or send him an email (

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