The first time I engaged with anything even remotely resembling a ‘voice activated assistant’ was Siri way-back-when on an iPhone 4S – a good few generations ago now, back in 2011.
It was terrible.
Siri couldn’t tell if I was asking for ‘a slice of pizza’ or ‘flights to Ibiza’. And, the answer to pretty much everything was basically ‘I can’t help with that – here are some search results related to…’.
On top of this, it felt weird and uncomfortable to speak to your phone like a person. As a result; Siri didn’t get used… unless one of those novelty joke question/answers was circulating.
But as Bob Dylan aptly put it, the times they are a changin’. Since then, voice search has become much more normalised. Siri, Google Assistant and Alexa have not only gotten better at understanding us but become a part of our lives.
It’s perfectly normal to hear ‘Hey Google, play a dance mix’ or ‘Hey Siri, call Dave’ these days and it’s not restricted to app demands. It’s very much leaking into search too.
By next year 50% of all online searches will be made with voice. According to people in the know (at Google, Apple and Amazon). Whilst some of these searches will be to find out how tall Pierce Brosnan is (1.86 metres – I just asked my Google Home). Others will be asking questions relevant to local businesses. ‘Hey Google, where can I get my teeth whitened near me?’
In some (most) cases, Google (or Alexa or Siri) will offer up one answer to this kind of question. So, imagine the potential for market domination if that answer is ‘your business’.