How do I start Google Search by voice?

Voice search allows users to search the web using voice commands spoken into a microphone instead of typing search terms. This hands-free searching can be especially useful for multitasking, accessibility, and convenience. Using voice commands with Google Search on mobile devices or smart speakers like Google Home allows users to quickly get answers without typing.

According to one source, “Voice search has grown in popularity in recent years as virtual assistants like Siri, Alexa and Google Assistant have become commonplace.”

Voice search provides a natural and streamlined way for people to find information. It allows searching hands-free when driving or multitasking. It also aids accessibility for those who have difficulty typing. As voice assistants continue improving, voice search promises to become even more useful and popular.


To use Google voice search, you need a device and browser that supports this feature. According to Google’s support page (, voice search is compatible with the latest versions of the following:

  • Android devices
  • iOS devices
  • Chrome desktop browser
  • Chrome mobile browser for Android

You’ll also need a working microphone to capture your voice input. Most modern smartphones, laptops, and tablets have a built-in microphone. If using a desktop PC, you may need an external microphone.

In addition, you’ll need an internet connection for voice queries to be processed by Google’s servers. Voice search won’t work offline.

Make sure your device and browser are up-to-date to enjoy the full voice search experience. Older versions may not be fully supported or lack certain features.

Activate Voice Search

To enable voice search capabilities on your device, you first need to make sure you have the latest version of the Google app installed. On Android devices, open the Google app and go to Settings > Voice > ‘Hey Google’ detection. Make sure this is enabled. On iPhones and iPads, open the Google app, go to Settings > Voice > Voice Match and turn on ‘Hey Google’ detection.

You’ll also want to allow Google access to your device’s microphone if prompted. The Google app needs microphone access to detect when you say “Ok Google” or “Hey Google” to initiate a voice search.

Once you have the latest Google app installed and have enabled ‘Hey Google’ detection, you should be able to activate voice search by saying “Ok Google” or “Hey Google” when on the Google homepage or within the Google app on your mobile device or tablet. On desktop and laptop computers, you can click on the microphone icon in the search bar to initiate voice search.

If you are having trouble getting voice search activated, double check that you have the latest Google app version installed, and that microphone access and ‘Hey Google’ detection are fully enabled in your device settings and within the Google app.

For more information, see this helpful guide: How to enable voice search

Basic Voice Commands

Here are some common queries and voice commands you can use with Google voice search:

  • “Call Mom”
  • “Text Sarah I’m running late”
  • “Navigate to the nearest gas station”
  • “Set an alarm for 7am tomorrow”
  • “What’s the weather this weekend?”
  • “How tall is the Empire State Building?”
  • “Play music by Ed Sheeran”
  • “Find me a nearby Italian restaurant”
  • “Search for cute dog videos”
  • “What is the capital of Australia?”

You can ask Google to perform many different voice actions like calling, texting, getting directions, setting alarms, playing music, answering questions, and searching the internet just by speaking. See this guide for more examples of Voice Actions.

Speaking Tips

When using voice search, speaking clearly and accurately will help ensure you get the best results. Here are some tips for getting the most out of Google voice search:

  • Speak naturally in a clear, audible voice without yelling or whispering.
  • Enunciate words fully without mumbling or trailing off.
  • Avoid speaking too quickly; find a comfortable pace that allows the microphone to pick up each word.
  • Say commands, searches, and queries in full sentences or phrases.
  • Minimize background noise by finding a quiet environment without disruptions.
  • Position yourself close to your device’s microphone when speaking.
  • Adjust the microphone sensitivity or volume input if you are not being heard.
  • Listen to playback of your voice to adjust speech patterns if needed.
  • Practice voice searches to get comfortable with ideal speech, speed, tone and phrasing.

With some practice and attention to how you speak, you can maximize the accuracy and capabilities of Google’s voice search.

Hands-Free Searching

One of the most convenient ways to use Google voice search is through hands-free activation. This allows you to initiate a voice search without needing to tap any buttons or icons. To enable hands-free voice search in Chrome:

1. Open the Chrome menu and select Settings.

2. In the “Users” section, click Add person.

3. Toggle on “Enable Hands Free Search” and say “Ok Google” to activate.

Once enabled, you can say “Ok Google” at any time on the Chrome browser to trigger a voice search. The microphone icon will appear allowing you to speak your search query or command. This hands-free option makes voice search fast and seamless without needing to click anything on-screen (Hands-free Google Voice Search in Chrome).

Search Languages

Google Voice Search supports over 30 languages including English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, and Mandarin Chinese. This allows you to speak your search queries in multiple languages. According to a Liliputing article, Google released an updated Search app in 2014 that lets you select up to 5 languages to use for voice searching.

Some key supported languages include: English, Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, Hindi, Portuguese, Russian, Japanese, German, French, Indonesian, Italian, Korean, Dutch, Polish, Turkish, Thai, Swedish, Arabic, Vietnamese, Tamil,Cantonese, Tagalog and Ukrainian.

The language support allows voice searching in your native language or languages you are familiar with. This enhances the voice search experience and makes it accessible to more people around the world.

Privacy Considerations

When using Google voice search, it is important to be aware of privacy and data collection concerns. Google states in their privacy policy that they collect audio recordings and associated data when you use voice search and other audio features. This data may include what you say, background noise, and location information if location services are enabled (PM-0741 GSM/UMTS Mobile Phone with WLAN, BT, RFID …).

You can manage privacy settings for voice search in your Google account. Under “Web & App Activity,” you can pause or delete your voice and audio activity. You can also turn off location history and voice & audio activity under “Location History” and “Voice & Audio Activity” settings. Limiting these settings provides more privacy, but can impact voice search functionality. Overall, be informed on Google’s data practices before using voice search features.


If you are having issues using voice search on your device, there are some troubleshooting steps you can take:

First, make sure your microphone is working properly and not blocked. Blow into the mic to ensure it is picking up audio. Also check your microphone privacy settings and make sure Google has permission to access the mic.

Next, check for any software issues. On Android phones, turn off battery saver mode, as it can sometimes disable the mic. Also try retraining the voice model under Voice Match in your Google app settings. Restarting your phone can also help resolve mic glitches.

With Windows PCs, go to your mic settings in Windows and test the mic, adjusting levels if needed. Ensure other programs are not accessing the mic, which could interfere with Google. Try uninstalling/reinstalling the Google app as well.

You may also need to adjust your speaking techniques. Enunciate clearly, speak louder, and dictate punctuation. Reduce background noise and don’t mumble or speak too fast. Stick to simple pronounced commands for best results.

Additionally, check for Google voice search issues on to see if others are having widespread problems, which may point to an outage. Trying again later could resolve temporary bugs.

If you continue having trouble, you can contact Google support for further assistance troubleshooting and fixing voice search issues.


Voice search can be a convenient way to hands-free search using Google on your mobile devices. By enabling voice search and learning a few key commands, you can search, navigate and control your device just by speaking. This allows you to access information quickly without having to type or look at your screen.

Some of the key benefits of using voice search include:

  • Hands-free searching – Just say “Ok Google” to initiate a search.
  • Multitasking – You can search while cooking, driving, walking, etc.
  • Efficiency – Voice search is often faster than typing, especially for longer queries.
  • Accessibility – It helps those who have difficulty with typing or touchscreens.

To get the most out of Google voice search, remember these tips:

  • Speak naturally in a clear voice.
  • Phrase queries as complete questions or sentences.
  • Use precise keywords and avoid rambling descriptions.
  • Try multiple ways of saying something if it doesn’t understand.
  • Use specific names instead of pronouns for clarity.

Overall, voice search is a handy feature that can make using your devices quicker, easier and more convenient in many situations.

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