You may type blindingly fast, but Google wants to make it even easier for your to search using other means — including your voice and images. Search by voice and images may sound like unnecessary features, but once you give them a try, you may be surprised at how well they work. Here’s how to enable and start using Google’s keyboard-free search features.
Google Voice Search
Google Voice Search has been on Android and iOS for awhile, but Google has finally introduced it in Chrome, so you can search the web without every typing a keystroke. Voice Search doesn’t require any setup; you just need to head to Google.com and click on the microphone in the search bar to start searching. And, of course, you’ll need a microphone plugged into your computer. Note that this is rolling out gradually, so if you don’t see the mic icon just yet, come back in a few days and see if it’s there. It is also a Chrome-only feature for now.
While it isn’t an official offering from Google, the previously mentioned Voice Search Chrome extension can extend this feature to other parts of your browsing, so you can search with your voice on Wikipedia, YouTube, DuckDuckGo and more. Plus, if you don’t have the official offering yet, you can install this to get voice capabilities right now.
Google Image Search
Google Image Search now lets you search not just for images, but with images. So, if you had a photo and you didn’t know where it was taken, or a logo and you didn’t know what it was, you could plug a picture into Google Image Search and it will give you back any information it can glean from that picture. It’s almost like previously mentioned TinEye, but instead of returning more versions of the same picture, it actually returns information about that picture, which is really cool.
To try it out, just head to images.google.com. Once there, drag and drop an image directly onto the search bar. If you prefer not to drag and drop, you can alternately click on the camera icon and then paste in an image URL or upload an image of your own. Once again, this feature is rolling out gradually, so if you don’t have it yet, check back soon. Image Search works in all browsers, but the drag-and-drop feature is Chrome and Firefox only.
If you want even faster image searching for images already on the web, you can install the Image Search extension for both Chrome and Firefox. With the extension installed, you can right-click on any image and pick “Search Google with this image” to plug it into Google. Note that these extensions don’t start working until tonight at 6pm PST.
Bonus: Google Instant Pages
It isn’t a “keyboard-less” feature like the others, but Google’s third new addition to search is Google Instant Pages. It’s basically a new feature in Chrome that will pre-load pages once you search Google, so when you click on one of the search results, Chrome will load the page almost instantly.
To use Instant Pages, make sure you’re running the Dev version of Chrome, or, if you’re willing to wait until the end of the week, the Beta version. Then, head into Preferences > Under the Hood > Predict Network Actions to Improve Page Load Performance. After that, you should notice some snappier transitions between Google’s search results and the pages contained within.