google’s audio search ambitions

audio search is one area i haven’t given much thought, and doing a search in goolge news it looks like not too many other search marketing professionals have picked up on this either.

but it look like google hasn’t been sleeping on this one. mid-april google filed a voice recognition search patent, although it said nothing publicly. what could it be up to?

pc – talk to me, now!

i’m not too bad a typist so when i need a recipe for gazpacho or need to find some new desktop wallpaper it doesn’t cost me too much to turn to the google toolbar, rattle away and dive into the information couldron that is google.

however, is there an easier possibility? what if i had my headset close by and could just continue typing this article but make demands through the mouthpiece? and then, when i’m good and ready i just switch over to the browser lying dormant in the background and wallow in the search results lying there in wait.

sounds good, but then so does the wheel-less car that silently hovers over the road (i bring this up because when i was about 7 – ok, a quarter-century ago – i remember having a colouring-in book with a year 2000 scenario with shiny glass buildings and cars that looked like something out of the jetsons). not everything that looks good on paper materializes. so why should this?

the voip revolution could supply the missing link between the pc and the headset. given that they live on different continents, my silver-surfer father-in-law has recently started using skype to talk to his daughter. with voip, teenagers need not worry about running up huge phone bills (is voip the next step for myspace after instant messaging?). once accustomed to talking into a pc, why not ask it to consult the google oracle?

the mobile must-have

almost a couple of years ago google launched its mobile search service. there was a lot of noise about it at the time (i remember covering it for the spannerworks newsletter), but it has been a service that has not left the palms of the early adopters.

one reason for this is surely the clunkiness of the interface. to sms requires a degree of dexterity that pushes the opposable thumb to its limit. talking to a mobile phone is a much easier proposition.

asking a mobile phone to find the nearest chinese, or a local plumber takes the pain out of thumbing through the yellow pages. with its voice recognition developments, google is certainly going after the local information market (and its considerable advertising revenue stream).

with the further convergence of wifi, handheld devices, telephony and the internet, ‘vocal search’ is positioning google’s services to listening to the mobile pc generation.

keyword expansion – an sem revolution?
vocal search will have considerable implications for search marketing campaigns. aside from opening up local search, there will be a change in search behaviour.

for one, the keyword list could grow considerably. at the moment, most searches come on 2- or 3- word searches (somewhere in the region of 70% of all searches). the language is base and to the point. but verbally, search queries can be more gramatically constructed with more detail. a typed search for ‘cheap hotels lanzarote’ becomes ‘i need a cheap hotel in lanzarote under 50 euros a night’. search marketers will have to take this into account when constructing campaigns and building web pages.

also, given the limited displays of most mobile devices, it will be incredibly important to take the top listings. if vocal search goes a step further and the search results are provided sonically, it is unlikely that many people will listen to more than 4 or 5 results.

‘hello google, in what year did the phone book finally die?’

the emergence of vocal search further redefines the way we use technology. it brings us a step closer to the hal’s and holly’s of science fiction. a monotone nasally-voiced oracle wearing a google cap and t-shirt may not be that far away.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *