Google Chrome tests showing a voice search button in the top toolbar
Earlier this year in January, we learned that Google was working to replace the old voice search UI in Chrome’s address bar with the Google Assistant. At the time, we’d spotted two new commits in the Chromium Gerrit that highlighted a new flag called “Omnibox Assistant Voice Search” that would enable the use of the Google Assistant for omnibox voice queries. Google Chrome has now started testing a related UI change that will add a voice search button in the top toolbar.
A code commit related to the change was just merged to the Chromium Gerrit, and it added a new flag called “voice-button-in-top-toolbar” with the description “enables showing the voice search button in the top toolbar.” When this flag is enabled, and the flag for the share button in the top toolbar is disabled, a voice search button shows up in the top toolbar on the browser (see attached screenshot).
The description for the commit further states that if the omnibox-assistant-voice-search-flag is enabled, the new button will launch the Assistant search UI. In case the flag is disabled, the feature will fall back to the older voice search UI. It’s also worth noting that the share button flag will take precedence over the voice button flag, so if you have both enabled, you’ll only see the share button in the top toolbar.
This is yet another UI test of many in Google Chrome, and there’s no guarantee that it will trickle down and be enabled by default for users running the stable release. Google runs these kinds of tests all the time to see what users engage with the most. If this new feature receives sufficient engagement, it may be added to Google Chrome on the stable channel in a future release.