Googles cool new conversational search quietly hits Chrome

With little fanfare, Google has added its cool new conversational search feature to Chrome on desktops, following a demonstration last week at Google I/O.

Conversational search is a major upgrade from Google’s previous voice search feature, which merely dictated a search string. You can access it by clicking the microphone icon within the search box of the Google home page and asking a question in plain English (no more tweaking your search strings for a better result). Once Google’s search is complete, you’ll either get a list of results as usual, or get a single card at the top of the screen as well as a pleasant voice answering your query.

The best part of the new search is its awareness of context. Once you start a search, you can continue to have a conversation with Google to refine it. For example, I asked for directions to Atlanta, Georgia, and was able to follow up with questions about its population and weather. Just like talking to a human, you don’t need to keep specifying the query you’re referring to — Google’s conversation search is smart enough to understand that the pronouns you’re using refer to your existing search query.

You’ll need Chrome 27 to access conversational search — you can either update from within the browser as usual, or download it fresh from Google’s website.