In brief, voice search is a technology that allows users to perform Internet searches by speaking aloud instead of typing into a search field. This is extremely convenient when your hands are otherwise occupied, or when you’re having a hard time seeing the screen due to lighting or vision issues.
You can do a voice search almost anywhere – and at any time. Any device with a microphone is generally capable of conducting a voice search, including mobile devices, laptops, tablets, and smart speakers. Voice recognition and language processing has led to rapid improvements in the technology, so that a great percentage of searches are accurate, and voice assistants (sometimes called digital assistants) are paving the way.
When Siri was first released in 2010 it was hardly taken seriously. However, as time has passed and Siri and the other voice assistants have increased their accuracy, usage has also increased.
A test examining performance conducted by Stone Temple Consulting (updated in May 2018) found that Google Assistant was the best performing service on mobile.
Of the 5,000 questions asked, Google Assistant attempted 78 percent and answered correctly 93 percent of the time.
Siri attempted to answer the fewest questions at 40 percent, but achieved accuracy of 80 percent.
Alexa and Cortana both achieved a success rate of over 80 percent.
VOICE SEARCH ACCURACY
WILL CONTINUE TO IMPROVE
Today voice search is a viable alternative to a typed search, and over time accuracy will continue to improve. One of the reasons voice assistants have been so successful in recent years is because mobile usage has increased – but also because today’s consumer has changed! They want everything fast, easy and accurate. The search process is now more practical, easier, and faster than ever before, particularly for location-based queries.
Using voice assistants brings a new approach to queries. Look at this as being similar to the way Google users were conditioned to using the search field.
Voice search is particularly useful for getting quick answers, but the questions might be longer and more complex than the traditional text search – something to consider when optimizing content. But there’s good news for local businesses, as users are performing a high percentage of searches with local intent. As people become more accustomed to the technology, the potential for voice search to grow is quite clear.