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28 April 2011, 11:25

Chrome 11: Google's web browser learns to listen

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Zoom Chrome: Left-Before, Right-After.
Google has released the stable version of Chrome 11. After the update, users will have version 11.0.696.57 of Google's web browser. As previously reported, Chrome 11 features the addition of a new logo that drops the previous 3D bubble look for a flatter and more simple look.

Chrome 11 now also supports voice input via HTML; a variant of the input element turns speech into text. Google presented the implementation in the beta phase of Chrome 11 as a draft for an "HTML5 Speech Input API" at the W3C.

Zoom Chrome 11.0.696.57 on Mac OS X.
Google uses the proprietary attribute x-webkit-speech to get an input element to listen. The browser then sends the speech input via HTTPS to a Google computer that returns the spoken word recognised back along the same channel. Submitted as a standard, the proposal allows regular expressions, a word list, and SRGS (speech recognition grammar specification) syntax to be specified in order to facilitate the recognition of words. Five events are generated by the API to denote the beginning and end of speech and the detection of recognisable speech. The Chrome developers mention Google Translate as an example of the new speech API; Translate now allows speech to be used to enter the text to be translated.

Furthermore, a number of security holes have been remedied in Chrome, many of which are rated as 'high-risk' by Google. They include issues with stale pointers when dealing with floating objects, PDF forms, height calculations, drop down lists and layering code, a race condition in the Linux sandbox launcher, integer overflows, same-origin policy violations and use-after-free errors. In all, Google paid out $16,500 as rewards for the reporting of these vulnerabilities.

More details about the major stable branch release can be found in a post on the Google Chrome Releases blog. Chrome 11.0.696.57 is available to download for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux from Users who currently have Chrome installed can use the built-in update function by clicking Tools, selecting About Google Chrome and clicking the Update button.

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