Google released a revised search app for iOS that adds a Siri-like voice-recognition service to its Android service on Apple phones. Marketers will find the audio searches serve up much more comprehensive and relevant information in query results, compared with typing keywords into a search box, even for complex names and spellings.
The change will be a wake-up call for marketers resting on their expertise.
Open the free Google Voice Search app on an iOS device, tap the microphone icon and speak a search request, such as directions from Huntington Beach to San Francisco. Google tells users the best route to take — and how long it will take to get there.
Aside from mobile apps, voice search integrates into car navigation systems, entertainment consoles and Web site search functions. In some cases, experts predict ads with audio and graphics will take the place of text. Marty Weintraub, founder of aimClear, said improvements in voice search will continue to erode the importance of what he calls "classic SEO." They will open new lines of studies in optimization and that prove a correlation between the action and the intent.
Marketers will need to add keywords and phrases to lists that compensate for variations in the way people talk. Not dialects, but grammar. The voice commands translate into text, so engines like Google can match keyword that optimize Web sites and trigger ads.
Google's Knowledge Graph provides a snapshot view of search queries to give the search technology an understanding of people, places and things in the real world. In an earlier post, Amit Singhal, SVP of engineering at Google, describes the technology as "a critical first step" toward tapping into the collective intelligence of the Web to build the next generation of search.
While Google taps into big data across its network of sites and expertise in search, Siri's integration with data from Wolfram Alpha, a computational knowledge engine for computing answers, provides an interesting rival.
Erica Sadun explains how Siri can use Wolfram Alpha by prefixing requests with "Wolfram," which makes voice search incredibly powerful. She explains: "You might say, 'Wolfram, what is the square root of 2?' or 'Wolfram, graph x-squared plus three.'"