A Voice AI Browser Extension

  • Wake Word Detection
  • WebAssembly
  • Web Audio API
  • WebExtension API
  • Google Chrome
July 21, 2021
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Web Wake Words

Voice-activated assistants have become part of our lives via mobile devices (like Siri) and smart speakers (like Alexa). But what about the web? Picovoice’s Porcupine wake word engine, plus WebAssembly, now allows web browsers to run wake words using on-device voice AI.

A dedicated wake word engine is the only feasible way to achieve always-listening behaviour, since it’s impractical—and a privacy nightmare—to continuously have a hot mic open to a cloud API. Using the Porcupine SDK for Web, we’ve created a proof-of-concept Chrome extension that offers multiple wake word options to trigger a Google voice search.

Extension options include multiple wake words

The extension is open source and available on GitHub. Although the extension is Chrome-only, the SDK supports all modern web browsers and has additional packages for Angular, React, and Vue.

An open source starting point for voice web extensions

Wake word activated search is just a starting point. The WebExtensions API has a large list of features to control things like bookmarks and tabs, or could be tailored toward a specific site like YouTube. Porcupine also offers the possibility of listening to many wake words simultaneously. Rhino offers the ability to add a natural language capability while keeping the entire experience offline and private. The Picovoice SDK for Web combines these two engines together to create a complete voice assistant loop for the browser.