Published: 06 January 2017
What is Voice Search?
Voice Search, or Search by Voice is a method of conducting online searches using Digital Voice Assistants, conducted by speaking, instead of typing into a traditional search engine.
Digital Voice Assistants and Voice Search functionality can be found today in smartphones, operating systems and home devices such as the Amazon Echo or Google Home.
What can you do with Voice Search?
Voice Search not only allows a user to utilise Search Engines by simply speaking, but also offers a wide variety of helpful functions already embedded within the respective device. For example, users can ask their Digital Voice Assistant to set reminders, add items to shopping lists, send text messages, begin recording video, or call people on their contact list. For a comprehensive list of Google Now queries and functions, click here.
Why Would Anyone Use Voice Search?
Voice Search offers a user the ability to search the internet, and carry out requests completely hands free, via speaking. This situational advantage is mostly taken whilst driving, carrying things, or cooking. A user might ask for “How many pounds in a kilogram?” whilst rolling dough, or for directions whilst driving, for example.
Is My Phone Always Listening to Me?
Yes and no. While Digital Voice Assistants do require a microphone to always be listening in order to pick up trigger phrases (“OK Google” or “Alexa”, etc), recordings and audio files are not stored. Google, Amazon and Apple are known to store Search Terms and Queries, but these are text based just like traditional Search Engine usage. In other words, the Amazon Echo and your phone is not spying on you, despite what many may believe.
Can I Use Voice Search for Marketing?
Voice Search is arguably intended for marketing, as many Digital Voice Assistants are intent on keeping users within their network. The Amazon Echo for example, will always defer to their own online store if a user asks to order something online. Similarly, Google will always pull answers to questions from their own Search Engine crawl. Beyond that, marketers may use longtail, conversational keywords to appeal to Voice Search users, making judgements based on the likely intent of the user. Click here to read my full guide to taking advantage of Voice Search for Marketing.
Does My Phone Have Voice Search?
There's a very easy way to find out! If you have your phone close by, try speaking it’s trigger phrase from the examples below:iPhone: “Siri” Android: “OK Google” Windows: “Cortana”If that doesn’t work, you may need to try entering your settings to enable Voice Search in your device.
Click here for instructions on how to enable voice with Android.
Click here for instructions on how to enable voice with iPhone & iPad.
Click here for instructions on how to enable voice with Windows phones.