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You Can Now “Ok Google” Your Chromebook

HP Chromebook 11

Chromebook owners can enable this little hidden gem, allowing them to use the “Ok Google” command that Android users have been toying with for a while now. The command will allow users to open up their app launcher, and from there, open apps and complete limited tasks. 

According to the Googler that outed the feature, the “possibilities are endless” and we could see much further integration with the command going forward in ChromeOS. As a bonus, there is a voice recognizer plugin, allowing the feature to work while not connected to the web.

How to enable it:

If you’re on the Dev Channel now and have previously enabled the App Launcher Start Page hidden behind the experimental chrome://flags/#enable-app-launcher-start-page flag, it should work out the box. Just say “Ok Google” and search for something by saying it.

I’ll say it, Chromebooks are pretty sweet.

Via: Chrome Story | +François Beaufort

  • Kenny Strawn

    For JavaScript and/or HTML5 development, Chromebooks are indeed good enough… and if Chrome’s Apache Cordova plugins for porting Chrome packed apps to mobile devices are any indication, you can develop for Chrome OS, AND Android, AND iOS, all using the same HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript code, without even needing to learn programming languages like C# (which is only needed for Windows and Windows Phone apps, both of which are quickly declining in popularity) or Java.

    Now to be fair, if your business happens to require C# and requires you to use it to develop software for the business, then yeah, maybe a Chromebook isn’t for you. Still, however, as mentioned before, you can always remote into your work computer from home using a Chromebook, AND develop your own Chrome/Cordova apps for further redistribution on other outlets. Just to be in a position where you can make enough of a living selling apps of your own with personal dev accounts to kiss your employer goodbye…

  • Kyle Johnson

    so i just read all 33 comments.. has anyone actually tried this out? i enabled it through the app launch start page but cant get it to work.. the voice button is not active when i press select either? anyone have any luck?

  • Johngi

    To anyone that has a chromebook, when you use chromecast does the video stutter worse than a PC ? I want to get one, solely to use chromecast and work on online hmwrk.

    • Daniel Rosseau

      The only Chromebook that supports casting tabs is the Pixel. If you’re trying to do Netflix or Play Movies or something, it should work the same because the Chromecast gets that directly from the internet, not from your computer. Your computer acts as a remote when you use supported sites.

    • EC8CH

      casting tabs requires quite a bit of processing power, which is why chromebooks other than the pixel do not support it.

      • SenseOffender

        Not true!

        I have a Samsung S 550 chromebook and can cast tabs, it lags a little but it works, much the same as it does when I use my Mac Book

      • CAC1031

        Several people who have the new Chromebooks with the Haswell processor (HP 14, Acer C720) have said chromecasting tabs work well. However, I’d stay away from the ARM processor (Samsung 330 and HP 11) if you want to Chromecast.

        • Johngi

          sounds great thank you!

    • bhughesiii

      I have cast tabs from my HP Chromebook 14 w/ haswell. IT worked like a charm!

      • EC8CH

        really? I thought only the Pixel could?

        • bhughesiii

          I speak the truth. I tested it when I first got my Chromebook. I installed the Chromecast extension and was casting a few test tabs. I haven’t tried casting a TV network website like ABC or CBS. But tab casting from the Chromebook 14 does work.

    • Anthony Pirtle

      If you want to chromecast anything heavy you really need one of the Haswell models, not the ARM based ones.

      • Johngi

        great! thank you.

  • http://JeremyCouch.com/ Jeremy Couch

    Now if someone will just release an HP 11 style Chromebook with a back-lit keyboard and more ram I could die happy… or least be happier trying to browse Google Plus on my Chromebook.

  • AnotherAndroidKid

    I still want to be able to say “Jarvis”. And not “Ok Jarvis” which does actually work now.

  • Jroc869, Nexus-Life

    I really wish Google would do more with chrome os. I’d love to ditch windows but I just can’t and I refuse to spend the kind of money apple wants for their stuff

    • raazman

      I hear you!

      • Cody Revels

        People always say their ‘stuck on windows.’
        Well, let me tell you, Linux is free. And faster than the alternatives. And better. So whats the problem again? :D

        • raazman

          Driver support :( I’d give up windows any day for Linux if driver support was as easy as windows.

        • Adrynalyne

          Application and hardware support. Pretty much the deal with almost all OSes.

          OS X has less an issue with it, but even then, it can’t do things Windows can.

    • Kiril Vatev

      You know, I am surprised by the amount of people who say that without trying a Chromebook. I’ve had mine for years, and it has now been my primary laptop for a while. It can do way more than you would think.

      • Jroc869, Nexus-Life

        I can’t say I disagree with you. I’ve only played around a little bit with them so I’m not 100% sure of their capability I just don’t want to have to have a windows machine as a back up if I run into something it can’t handle. The wife wants one for Christmas so I think I’ll be finding out what they can do really soon.

        • Kiril Vatev

          Make sure to hit Ctrl+? when you get it to find out a whole bunch of stuff. It’s kind of a shame that app isn’t available before buying one.

        • http://meatcastle.com/ Youre My Boy Bloo

          Yeah dude, I was in the exact same boat for years. A friend came to me a month ago needing a laptop on a super tight budget and we went to look at Chromebooks as a possible alternative. The one thing I hated when looking was all the ones in the stores were not “logged in” so you did not see what the real user experience was. She ended up not wanting one in lieu of a Windows machine, but I was intrigued enough I decided to pick up an Acer C720.

          In the 3 weeks since I have been absolutely blown away. The total lack of storage pretty much blows, but you get over it pretty quickly. Everything else is snappy, awesome, and really well done. I use mine for work and personal use. It has fantastic Google Drive integration, and for work stuff, I can use Skydrive for more full featured MS Office work. Pixlr Editor is un-freaking believable for graphics editing (even if you do not have a Chromebook I highly recommend you install the chrome extension as I feel it is a great middle ground between Photoshop and GIMP.

          On top of all that, the snappiness is amazing! I can’t believe this little beast cost under $300, and does not show any signs of slowing down… Also, I have been able to get upwards of 15 hrs of life out off the battery in light conditions, and a solid 9 hours of heavy usage consistently.

          • EC8CH

            So are the 4gb’s really nessesary?

            I doubt my wife ever has more than 3 or 4 tabs open at a time, would the 2gb version handle that without slowing down?

          • http://meatcastle.com/ Youre My Boy Bloo

            Honestly, the other Chromebooks I tested all had 1 or 2 gigs of RAM and they did just fine. I am sure the $199 C720 would be fine as well, and the HP Chromebook 11 had awesome reviews (although crappier battery life). What I really am excited and hoping to see is something more along the lines of an ultrabook with super thin form factor, better screen, and build quality, but at a $400-500 price range. I think that is a real sweet spot in the market that could help bring more college kids on board… Did I also mention bigger SSDs?

          • Anthony Pirtle

            I actually downgraded from a 4 to a 2 gig when I replaced my Acer C710 with an HP Chromebook 11, and I have noticed a slow down, but only for the most rigorous tasks. I almost never have more than three or four tabs open and I find that it handles them all pretty well, even if one of them is a video. Of course, there are ARM based 2 gig Chromebooks like the HP 11 (which is currently unavailable as they sort out the charger issue) and the Samsung Chromebook, and there are also Haswell Celeron based 2 gig Chromebooks, like the $200 Acer C720 and the $300 HP Chromebook 14. The Celeron model will be able to handle a bit more than the ARM model, but that small bit of processing power comes at the expense of a moderate increase in weight and bulk (and a fan, though you usually won’t be able to hear it).

      • Adrynalyne

        Of all the things I do on a computer, it can only do one of them (browse the web)

        • sl

          Really? But I think I’m SSHed into a server from this Chromebook right now. And last night I chromecasted Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone” video.

          You haven’t ever used a Chromebook, have you.

          • Adrynalyne

            Do I need to use a Chromebook to know that I cannot compile any of my java, android, VB, or C# applications on it? Do I need to use a Chromebook to know that I cannot run Visio? Do I need to use a Chromebook to know that none of my OS X applications run on it? I wasn’t speaking for you or anyone else.

            Don’t be a douche.

          • Chinaskiblur

            All of those things can be done with remote desktop actually. The dude is right you’ve never used a chromebook. Oh, and the C720 ($249) can run most linux distros via dual boot. Don’t be douche, cars and trucks have little comparison to computers and with a little humility you too can find out just what a Chromebook truly is.

          • Adrynalyne

            So why would I buy a device, to access another device? How about: I use a laptop and can do all those things locally and not be dependent on a network connection or a SECOND device. The Chromebook still cannot do those things; your OTHER computer can. Computer + Chromebook ? Costs more than just a computer itself.

            So your example is equally unimpressive. Remote access is a copout, and has been available to most OSes for years.

          • sl

            It is true, that unlike many, you did not say that no one should use a Chromebook. But you did seem to say it could do just one thing, and that is incorrect. You hadn’t said that you can’t use it for your software development. No need to insult me.

            A car is not a bus is not a truck. But many people use more than one of those. A Chromebook is not a computer is not a tablet is not a phone. But many people use more than one of those.

            I am surprised that you never SSH into another computer and that you don’t watch any streaming video. But no big deal. I get it – you don’t want a Chromebook.

          • Adrynalyne

            I never said a chrome book can do only one thing. I said it only does one thing I do. You can see a theme here, I am talking about myself. I apologize for the comment, If felt you were being snarky with with the ssh and bet you have never used a chrome book and reacted accordingly.

          • Vu

            Power users have the option to dualboot Linux (most popularly Ubuntu) with ChromeOS. It still probably won’t run your Mac OSX applications, but hey, it went from being able to do one thing to being unable to do one thing.

          • Adrynalyne

            Well thats just it. I don’t have an issue with the hardware. I just find the OS lacking.

    • dude23445

      derp linux

  • Good_Ole_Pinocchio

    “OK GOOGLE – Are Chromebooks pretty sweet?”

  • EC8CH

    Thinking of maybe getting the Acer 720 over the holidays

    • Dylan

      If I was going to buy one today, I think I’d go with the 720. I’m holding my breath for something on par with the 720 with an IPS screen and backlight keyboard, or a Haswell powered Chromebook 11 with respectable battery life.

      • EC8CH

        I doubt you’d see those features at the $199/$249 price point of the 720 though.

        • Wilsonian

          I would be willing to pay even more than that for just a little bump up in specs and quality. The discrepancy between the low-end Acer/HP Chromebooks and the Pixel is too great. I would like there to be a little middle ground, maybe something in the $400-500 range.

          • Adrynalyne

            I’m waiting and watching. Until they can make the utility greater than a tablet, I can’t justify anything but bottom end prices.

          • EC8CH

            C720 can be had for $199, can’t even buy the Nexus 7 for that price. And if you need something to do a lot of typing on going the tablet route is even more expensive and less convenient.

          • Adrynalyne

            Thats what I mean. At that price range, it totally makes sense. But spending much more, ChromeOS is going to need to beef up some.

          • Anthony Pirtle

            I have a tablet and a chromebook precisely because it has, not more utility, but different utility than my tablet. My tablet is my mobile computing device. I use it for email, podcatching, audiobooks and ebooks, very light productivity and web browsing. However, what it cannot do is deliver a full web (as opposed to mobile web) experience, with everything that entails, like all my extensions, more useful multitasking, opening multiple browser windows side by side, and of course having a full keyboard and touchpad, since the internet is not, by and large, a touchscreen environment. When I’m home and want or need to do more serious work, I vastly prefer my chromebook.

  • kyle

    is there a way to enable this on the stable build? the one that updates itself?

    • Phil Oakley

      There’s three channels for Chrome OS – dev, beta and stable. All three update themselves. Chromium OS is the one that doesn’t auto update.