Voice search: Creepy or helpful?

Voice search is becoming a greater part of how consumers decide to interact with search engines. Even with just Siri, voice search is becoming a more popular tool. Then came Google Home and Amazon Echo to expand the market for voice search devices.

Voice search marketplace

According to Digiday, Amazon's cheaper Echo option is dominating the voice search field. There is plenty of competition of the field of apps already on these platforms, and it's hard to keep users interacting. They may be using it for tasks like answering questions, searching, texting or listening to music, but they don't seem to be sticking around.

Personally, I find voice search on the phone doesn't really catch what I'm saying especially if it's a complex word. I almost never use voice search for this reason: by the time Siri understands what I am saying, I could have typed a response myself. While it might be useful in situations when people shouldn't be using their phone (like driving), I have never found myself to use it in another situation.

Growing voice search trend

Despite my own proclivity, voice search is a growing trend that marketers should look into capitalizing on. According to Search Engine Land, voice search will change how people search and interact with technology.

Google announced at I/O that 20 percent of all searches have voice intent... ComScore even estimates that by 2020, a full 50 percent of all searches will be by voice.
— Search Engine Land

Forbes agrees that voice search will be one of the top trends for 2017.

Questions of privacy, data security, and accuracy

There continues to be the question of privacy and data security with voice search devices. For home search devices with a voice assistant (i.e. Alexa), I find them a little intrusive. Every command ever issued to Alexa is stored on Amazon servers because it is listening all the time.

Voice search also isn't perfect, there have been issues with people of a similar name or it ordering items without owner's permission.

While I enjoy using a friend's voice search for playing music at a party or to help text something simple, for me at least as a consumer, I won't be using it personally in the near future. As a marketer, I'm excited to see how companies like Amazon address privacy issues and how other businesses can keep innovating (or trying to innovate) in this space.

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