Google bringing big Chrome updates to all platforms

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Google pushed some big updates out to its desktop and mobile versions of Chrome

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Google Chrome, one of the best web browsers around, is available on just about every major platform. And it just got a little better. Just a week after Google I/O, the search giant has been busy pushing out big updates to Chrome on desktop, Android, and – soon – iPhone and iPad.

Voice search

If you use Chrome on your PC, you might have noticed something new. The latest update brings some of that Google Now-like voice search functionality that we told you about last week. Visit, tap on the microphone, and get spoken results – much like Android Jelly Bean users have been enjoying for the last year.

The PC voice search, however, isn’t quite fully-baked Google Now. At least not yet. At I/O, Google demoed Chrome activating with just a hotword (“Okay, Google”) for hands-free search. That still isn’t there in this latest update. You also don’t get the predictive contextual-based Google Now cards from Android and iOS.

But it’s still a nice start, and a step in the right direction for faster, easier, more hands-free desktop search.

Though it isn’t quite here yet, Google is also bringing similar voice search to Chrome for iPhone and iPad. It’s branded as “coming soon,” so we’re betting Google is waiting on Apple to approve the update.

Android full-screen fun

Chrome for Android also got a pretty big update today. Now when you scroll down a web page, the search bar disappears. When you need the omnibar again, just scroll back up a bit, and it returns. It’s full-screen web browsing, but more elegant than a button-activated toggle, like many other mobile browsers use.

The new Chrome for Android also simplifies search results with a minor – but still significant – change. After searching for something, the results page will show your query up in the omnibar. Before, it showed your URL, with a separate (redundant) search box on the results page. If that sounds confusing, just look at the image above.

You can snag the Android update in Google Play. Chrome for desktop should download its voice search update automatically, in the background.

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