Google brings 'button-free' voice searches to Chrome with 'ok, Google' command, Google Now integration and the ability to understand natural, conversational language.

Google Voice search
Commands like 'show me seafood restaurants in London' are understood by Google search.

In what the search giant calls a 'no-interface' design, the latest version of Search is launched by saying 'ok, Google' much like how Google Glass is activated by saying 'ok, Glass'.

In a move that makes Apple's Siri look somewhat dated, the update to Chrome means users need only talk to their computer or laptop to get results; these results are contextualised, taking your location and the website you're currently looking at into account when returning answers.

Google showed off voice-enabled search at its annual I/O developers conference, held in front of 6,000 people at the Moscone West centre in San Francisco on 15 May.

During the demonstration, the search giant showed how a search for 'how far is it from here' while looking at the website of a place of interest will return the distance to it from your current location.

Google senior vice president Amit Singhal said searches can be spoken aloud "pretty much like you would ask a friend," with the emphasis being on the use of natural language.

Integrated deeply with Google Now, the voice search tool allows for natural speech, so you can say phrases like "show me things to do in London" and Google will return useful results.

Search can also interact with your Google contacts, Gmail inbox and photos saved on your Google+ profile, meaning you can issue commands like 'send an email to Eric' and 'show me my photos from London last year'.

Conversational search for desktop is available now for a limited number of users who are part of Google's Search Field Trial, and will roll out to other users soon, the company said.

Pressure will now be on Apple to improve Siri and bring its own voice-activated personal assistant to the desktop - a move we might see at the iPhone maker's WWDC keynote on 10 June.

Google also used its I/O 2013 keynote to announce a major update to Maps, a music subscription service, updates to Google+ and more.

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