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Voice-Activated Search Now Built Into Google Chrome

Google's much-anticipated voice-activated search is now built right into the Chrome browser. Now all users need to do to launch a search is get the browser's attention by saying "OK Google" followed by whatever they're looking for.

Ever since Google first demonstrated the feature, at the company's I/O conference last year, it has been eagerly awaited by users. But its initial rollout was restricted to the Moto X, which had the controversial feature of having the mic always on to listen for commands.

The company put the capability in an optional extension for Chrome back in November, but now it's part of the browser itself — the beta version only for now. Simply say "OK Google, search for Sir Francis Drake" or "OK Google, what is a hundred dollars in euros?" or any number of other searches and tasks.

There is one catch. Google calls the feature "hands free," but the voice activation only works on a new tab or the Google homepage. If you're cooking and your hands are covered in flour, but you need to do a cups-to-ounces conversion (a favorite Google example situation for the feature) — how are you supposed to open a new tab or go to google.com?

NBC News contacted Google to see if there was a solution to this little quandary — for instance, a voice command to open a new tab. A Google representative declined to "comment on future plans" — but suggested adding a new "step 0" to any messy recipe: "open a new tab in Chrome". That will have to do for now.