Chrome 11 converts your speech to text

Be careful venting your frustrations with modern technology when using the latest version of Google Chrome. Chrome 11 (download for Windows | Mac | Linux) comes with the ability to convert your speech to text, which could prove to be a big boon to people who have difficulty with keyboards, as well as providing on-the-go translations when used with Google Translate.

Chrome now can convert your speech to HTML. This can be tested most easily on the Google Translate site. Note that it works only for English at the moment. (Credit: Screenshot by Seth Rosenblatt/CNET)

The new feature, based in HTML5, requires a microphone icon embedded in the Web page. Click the icon and then speak into your computer's mike. The input records as text and the browser automatically inserts the text into the available form-field.

You can test this by going to Google Translate and clicking the microphone icon in the lower-right corner of the text field. At the time of writing, the microphone and voice-to-HTML feature appears to work only with English.

While the feature is interesting to include in a browser, it's hardly a random decision on Google's part. By including a speech-to-text feature, the Chrome OS instantly provides a modicum of accessibility for users who have difficulty with keyboards. When the browser is the operating system, being able to speak to the computer and having the computer know how to interpret that speech is a quick way to ensure a broader appeal.

Other changes in Chrome 11 include the introduction of hardware-accelerated 3D CSS, bug fixes in cloud print, a security update to the built-in version of Adobe Flash and user-agent string changes introduced to bring Chrome in line with user-agent changes made in Firefox 4. The jump from Chrome 11 beta to stable also includes 25 security changes, including 15 marked as high-risk. These fixes cover potential risks such as URL bar spoofing during navigation errors and numerous instances of stale pointers in PDF forms, sandboxing and drop-down list handling.

Google has been moving forward with its less stable versions of Chrome, too. It recently bumped Google Chrome Canary version 13 (Windows download only), the first version of Chrome to reach that milestone. Chrome Canary 13 doesn't appear to have any features different from Chrome dev 12 at this time.

Google Chrome dev 12.0.742.9 (download for Windows | Mac | Linux) includes tweaks to the Sync interface, introduces a new version of the V8 JavaScript engine and has been offering a still-in-development feature that lets users select multiple tabs at once. There's also an experimental "new tab" page, which users can activate through the about:flags configuration screen, and a multiple profile option for having different user profiles under the same Windows log-in. Currently, this is available only on the Windows version of Chrome dev, though like speech-to-HTML, it has bigger implications for Chrome OS.

Via Download.com

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