Voice & Data Convergence

The rise of voice search: What do businesses really need to know?

Last year seemed to be the time when voice search matured. In fact, a 2016 study released by Google, showed voice search made up 20 percent of mobile queries. It saw multiple iterations of voice search driven intelligent assistants like Alexa on the Amazon Echo and Amazon Echo Dot, Google Assistant on the Google Pixel phone and on Google Home, and Cortana for Windows 10. While these all offer increasingly sophisticated functionality, they are far from perfect and are still inferior to good old fashioned text searching in many ways.

Despite this, we seem set to increasingly embrace voice as a search mechanism in a variety of different contexts. Jamie Hill, CEO of adMarketplace, a search advertising network, believes voice search will not kill text search because it is different, not revolutionary. He says there are several technical and user experience hurdles that voice search has to overcome, in order to be a disruptive technology.


How close is the holy grail of voice search?

Automated voice technology has been clunky at best. The ideal voice search scenario, according to Hill, facilitates a hands-free conversation between man and machine, but this holy grail of voice search, from a consumer perspective, is years away. “This type of exchange relies on two technologies that are currently far from perfect, namely natural language search and voice recognition, as well as one branch of technology that’s not even close: Artificial Intelligence.”

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Bianca Wright

Bianca Wright is a UK-based freelance business and technology writer, who has written for publications in the UK, the US, Australia and South Africa. She holds an MPhil in science and technology journalism and a DPhil in Media Studies.

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