Just by activating the microphone and pronouncing the words “Ok Google”, we can perform a voice search with surprising results of great relevance and quality.
Searching on Google and other search engines have long been part of our daily lives, from a simple search to find out what the weather will be like today, to knowing the ingredients of a recipe. Beyond the typical keywords that we enter with our keyboard, voice search is one more step in the attempt to make the user’s life something easier, more comfortable and interconnected. Along these same lines, OK Google is a service that uses a voice-recognition system to perform a Google search without using the keyboard. It is, therefore, a system that combines artificial intelligence and linguistics, and that aims to encourage a dialogue between the user and the electronic device. While OK Google has been around for a few years now and 20% of global searches are done by natural voice,
VOICE SEARCH ON MOBILE DEVICES
In a 2016 study by the consultancy Kleiner Perkins, more than 60% of those surveyed in the United States considered voice search useful when their hands were full or they could not focus their eyes on the terminal, while 30% highlighted its speed and 22% found it funny. Therefore, the future of voice search is intrinsically linked to the presence of mobile phones and smartphones in our lives. Classic examples of these searches that we can all recognize are: “supermarkets open today” and “where to eat near here”
“Nearest mechanical workshop” “Dentist near me” “Hotels near Madrid airport”
HOW OK GOOGLE WORKS
To show how it works, we are going to perform some searches as an example. We pronounce the magic words OK Google and ask:
In this case, the first answer we get comes from Wikipedia:
However, if we try the same voice search repeatedly, we may not always get the same answer, as in this other case:
Here we have the first answer:
And a second one, which clearly contradicts the previous one:
But the most surprising thing happens when we ask about a well-known personality:
And OK Google is able to remember who we are talking about without mentioning their name again, returning information related to their person. This form of memory is a clear sign of what artificial intelligence has in store for us:
HOW TO SET UP OK GOOGLE
To use OK Google on the desktop of our computer, we just have to open Chrome, click on the microphone icon in the search field, enable the microphone and say these words. However, the most common thing is to want to use it on a smartphone. To configure OK Google on Android we will have to:
- update the google app in the play store
- open the app and select Settings > Voice > Voice Match
- select “in the Google app”.
In this same section, we can use voice recognition to unlock the keyboard of our phone.
GOOGLE ASSISTANT AND SMART SPEAKERS
The large multinationals in the digital sector have not waited to jump on the revolution of voice search and artificial intelligence. Google has integrated its service into the so-called “Google Assistant”, an application that we can download to interact with it as a chat. For its part, Amazon has a service designed to facilitate online orders by voice, called Alexa. Even Delivery Hero, the German food delivery giant, has developed a feature to order food delivery via Alexa.
The latest step in the evolution of these voice assistants is the so-called smart speakers, which are not only used to perform searches but also to support everyday tasks at home. In a study of 3,000 searches carried out by Bryson Meunier on Google smart speakers (Google Home) published in Search Engine Land magazine, the author highlights that most of the commands he sent are focused on:
- play and stop music, adjust the volume
- turn the light on and off
- set alarm clock alerts
- ask what the weather is like
In this sense, Meunier questions the possibility of exploiting these services from a marketing point of view, showing that this technology is still at an early stage.
HOW CAN I POSITION A PAGE FOR VOICE SEARCH?
If physical location information is of central importance to your business, sooner or later voice search will become part of your business strategy. Although at the moment the voice results do not differ much from those entered by the keyboard, a study suggests that in voice search results:
- the answer is usually drawn from the so-called zero position or rich snippets on Google.
- loading speed is a vital factor to be able to appear in voice search results
- the answers shown are usually short, with an average of 29 words
- most of the pages have the HTTPS: protocol and a powerful domain
However, people are still not aware of the question, “what is the benefit of SEO?”
In short, voice search is a still unknown and developing field, which should be followed in order to be up-to-date with trends in the technology sector and the positioning of our website.
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