Starting today, Google is letting users search Google Maps and get directions with just their voices — no typing required.

For now, this new feature relies on Chrome web browser functionality. From the browser, users can simply click the small, blue microphone icon in the search bar, begin speaking and see results accordingly.

The speak-to-search function has also been available in Google Maps mobile interfaces for a while, since hands-free directions are pretty important to on-the-go mobile users.

“Using voice search can make it easier to find hard-to-spell places (like Poughkeepsie or Liechtenstein) or simply get directions without typing (for example, say ‘Directions from Los Angeles to San Francisco’),” wrote Google engineer Jed Burgess on the company blog.

Here’s an overview of how Google voice search works:


Google’s voice search has been around for a while. The company first launched voice search for iPhone back in 2008.

Those mobile technologies made their way to the desktop earlier this summer at Google’s Inside Search event, where the company announced that people could use their computer’s microphone to accomplish the same search tasks with voice alone.

Last summer, the company launched voice actions for its Froyo-running Android phones. Also, at the end of last year, Google said it was making voice search smarter by bringing personalized voice profiles to its voice search app for Android.

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