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“I’m sorry, I don’t know what you mean… would you like me to search the web?” “…No it’s alright, Siri, I’ll just use Google Voice Search!”

Written by Stacey | 12-Nov-2013 16:59:00

So Google Voice Search was launched last week within the updated Google Search app for iOS devices. Having a bit of a play with it over the weekend, I found it is all too easy to lose yourself in a toddler-like state of asking question, after question, after question! ‘but why?’, ‘take me there’, ‘how far away is it?’, ‘what’s the weather like there on Tuesday?’.

I have to admit, I never got past the second day using Siri on my then shiny new iPhone 4s; the main attraction was definitely getting my Scottish husband to use (and fail at using) Siri, but even the novelty of that wore off after a few minutes. Google Voice Search seems to have grabbed my attention though – the fact that Google has worked a lot on understanding the context of questions on its desktop search function, means that its version of Voice Search is based on this algorithm and remembers what you have asked before, making your results personalised and more relevant to the user. Even more surprising / pleasing is that most of the time, the results returned are accurate based on my questions… something I rarely encountered within my short patience span using Siri!

Relevancy is what Google is all about… our search team have received countless updates over the years when Google roll out new initiatives to make results more relevant to the user – from ad extensions to personalised search (read Jonathan’s blog on the Google Hummingbird updatehere, which covers how Google are increasingly trying to improve their search engine to understand natural language and the spoken word). What we’ll be interested in as an agency is what this means for our clients’ mobile visitor data… making search more accessible on the go could lead to an upturn in people placing queries on their mobile devices, which would be hugely relevant to certain client sectors. And also, will this add to the already amusing search query reports that we run on our client PPC accounts, where we get a view as to what long tail queries people are appearing against our account keywords on varying match type? Will it lead to a whole world of misspells we need to add into our accounts based on GVS mis-interpreting the user? Maybe not, based on my (limited) experience playing about with it over the weekend – I was very impressed with its accuracy!

Just a fad? Possibly. It’s likely that for people like me, curiosity will get the better of them, and the more this launch hits the press, the more people will test it out… but will we really see people walking around holding their phones out talking into them and bumping into each other once the hype dies down, unaware of their surroundings?

Oh wait… what phone? This launch seems to have coincided nicely with the hotly anticipated (surely-impending-by-now) roll out of Google Glass. Watch this space… we will be!