Google Doc’s New Voice Typing Feature

Google introduced a new feature for Google Doc’s that works exclusively in their Chrome browser and Chromebooks in the last month. The new voice typing feature is built directly into Google Docs on the Chrome browser now and puts the Chromebooks closer to what other devices like iPads and iPhones have had for the last few years with Siri voice dictation.

Using the new feature is very simple. If you have the most recent update to the Chrome browser or
Google Chromebook you’ll be able to find the voice typing under the tool menu in Google Docs. Once activated, you just need to click on the microphone icon and you can start voice dictation right away. If you are new to using voice to text there are some universal commands that most programs use. For example when wanting to add punctuation, you would just say the name of the punctuation or the line break. I did find that when I used the word “period” it would add a period, but would sometimes change if it detected the context being a word and not punctuation mark.

Right now the list of commands available are:

  • “Period”
  • “Comma”
  • “Exclamation point”
  • “Question mark”
  • “New line”
  • “New paragraph”

Also very important is to make sure not to combine your words when speaking. You will find a rhythm in which to speak as you get more practice with voice to text. At the beginning you should pronounce every word individually so there is an oral space between each word.

Using an external microphone will give you better results. I compose this whole blog post using my voice and the ThinkWrite headset. Google Voice typing is not perfect as it struggles with homophones and understanding the context of what word you are using. However those of us with weaker fine motor skills will find that they can produce more words than if typing. You just have to make sure to go back and edit after doing your composition.

We have found that the ThinkWrite headset is a great accessory for voice to text on all devices that have the feature. If you have Chromebooks in your classroom your students are likely be able to start using it right away. Classes with iPads already have the voice to text feature if turned on through the iPad settings.