Firefox challenges Chrome with full browser voice controls – here's how to try them

Man with laptop using microphone
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Mozilla has released Firefox Voice – an experimental feature that lets you control your browser using natural-sounding spoken commands.

You can use your voice to search the web using your chosen search provider, but that's not all; Firefox Voice also allows you to manage tabs in your browser, and control media that's playing on websites (ideal for streaming services and YouTube).

Firefox Voice works much like Siri, Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa, allowing you to ask questions using natural language. For example, you could say 'Search for Samsung Galaxy Fold reviews', 'Look up the best iPhone 11 deals', or 'Go to TechRadar'.

You can use commands like 'Play', 'Pause' and 'Mute' if you're on a website containing media, ask for translations, set timers, and open maps. It's also possible to find specific tabs using your voice, open new tabs and close existing ones, and you can even select, copy and paste content using the clipboard.

Give it a try

To try Firefox Voice, just download the browser extension and follow the instructions, granting the relevant permissions if you're happy to do so. As Ghacks notes, Firefox Voice uses the Google Cloud Speech Service, which means all voice commands are submitted to Google for processing. However, Mozilla says that Google doesn't hold any records of them.

You can also decide whether your voice snippets can be submitted to Mozilla for research and to help develop the service, though this isn't mandatory.

To start speaking, just click the Firefox Voice icon in the address bar. The tool currently only works with the desktop version of Firefox using English language commands, but hopefully it will be expanded to more platforms and languages if it proves successful.

Cat Ellis

Cat is the editor of TechRadar's sister site Advnture. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better)