The Internet and the development of the search engine have changed the world for everyone. The next step is using your voice to do a search, and that is happening and growing fast. Search engines like Google and Bing opened a new world, and that is still the main way people use the Internet. Even so, a voice-activated search is starting to change the world again.
How it started
Voice search has been around since Google invented it in 2011. It had mixed results as it gained footing and is now growing astronomically. Speech recognition technology has gotten a lot more sophisticated, and more people are using it. Currently, 41 percent of adults use voice search on a daily basis. That figure is expected to exceed 50 percent by early 2020. It is not unreasonable to think voice search will replace typed searches as the main way people engage with internet searches in the not too distant future.
As the leader, Google has more than half of the total market share. Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, and Microsoft’s Cortana are not that far behind. As more people use electronic devices, voice searching will only continue.
This will change how business is done as people become even more mobile. A person can ask what movies are on and find out about local restaurants as they drive toward an evening out.
How it works
In many ways, a voice-activated search is the same as the one you type on a keyboard. With both, you get a page of results, and the results are virtually identical. The difference is that voice-activated is easier, faster, and can be used anywhere. Your searches are also linked across devices, so you don’t have to start over on any device with any search.
Over the hump
Voice-activated searches have been in the works for years, but Google’s development of “semantic search” kicked it into high gear. This search tries to determine the searcher’s implied meaning even more than the literal words used. This is done by considering other searches and by listening to the user. This creates privacy concerns but it also hones in results for greater accuracy.
With artificial intelligence, Google, or other search engines, can fill in the blanks as it understands what we are searching for. You can ask a series of questions about a subject, and the computer “knows” you are still on the same subject, for example.
The technology also adjusts to your individual speech patterns. After some time, it will adjust for accents and perhaps even for slang terms.
What it means
It is obvious that there is a transfer going on from typed searching to voice-activated searching. The technology will be able to determine the user’s intent more accurately and provide better results.
This could also change how SEO is done. Businesses may want to make sure they have their name, location, and hours of operation displayed prominently so the search engine will pick it up easily.
The Internet made shopping easier for the consumer and put control in the hands of consumers instead of businesses. Voice-activated searches will take that a step further, giving even greater power to the consumer. Shopping and getting information will be even easier