Voice-based assists in the form of “Siri,” “Alexa,” “Cortana,” and “Google Assistant” have made inroads to our homes and lives. Text searches are being replaced with voice commands and the assistants are all over the place ready to serve you, be it booking your parlor appointment or reading out the new recipe to you, or helping you buy cool new glares.
The global market for voice search devices grew 187% in the Q2 of 2018 and leaders like Apple, Google, Xiaomi, Amazon flooded the market with choices, selling (collectively) a whopping 16.8 million voice assistant units in Q1 of 2018. Source: Canalys.
Voice search is growing exponentially, and here to stay, for a really long time. BUT wait, till they put a lot of underlying stuff in place.
What is Voice Search?
Voice search is a technology that allows users to perform a search on the web (and get answers) by asking a question in their natural language to a smartphone, smart device or any other digital assistant.
Expected to account for over 50% of the global searches by the end of next year, voice search is gaining attention all over the world. Not just search, but consumer spending via voice assistants is expected to reach 18% by 2022 per a martech report.
What is the precursor to voice search success?
Internet speeds, with faster and reliable underlying hardware, IoT of data and Artificial Intelligence and machine learning 9to help assistants improve over time) and natural language processing are all being worked at simultaneously.
But wait, while there is so much buzz around voice search, there is still a long way to go!
- Video search is a lesser-known competitor, but in countries like China, it is picking up and can give tough competition to voice search.
- While most voice assistants today understand the query almost over 80% of the times, processing these to the user’s satisfaction is still not up to the mark. Now, considering users expectations from their digital assistants are also rising by the day, you could soon spot users fighting with the assistants, and yes in their natural language. After all, they say, machines are predictable, humans are not.
- Interestingly, Google has come up with a help center with instructions (like a manual) on how to trigger assistant responses to specific situations. Good thought, and much needed of course.
- Massive amounts of data are being generated gathered, it needs to be handled well. Recently, Amazon launched an online hub with intent to developers and marketers further create “Skills” (amazon’s word for apps) and analyze adoption data for the Amazon echo range of products.
- Privacy and personal information concerns have been raised with an always-on listening device in the home, which has the potential to gather more data (direct and indirect) than any other device. Although companies promise to protect personal information, security on the devices and smartphones is vulnerable to phishing. Shhh, hackers could be listening.