Voice Search — Another Tech Miracle!
Voice recognition technology indeed came as a miracle, another remarkable addition to the tech era. This gave the foundation for its advanced offspring, the voice search technology. Did you ever wonder about how stunning voice search is?
I remember, just about 2 years ago, the first time my sister used the “OK Google” feature on her smartphone for making a call at her office. Two of her colleagues gave her a suspicious glance, which she did not understand at that moment.
A few days later, one of those colleagues shockingly questioned her, “Your phone is strange; the other day it was listening to you, so it would be listening to our conversations when you were not there and we all were chatting on the same table”?
But, within the last two years, people have accepted the voice search technology and imbibed this in their day-to-day routine.
Some of my friends rarely reply to anybody’s text messages on SMS or even WhatsApp. They instead call-back to talk. When I asked one of them why she does not reply to the messages and prefers calls instead, she told me that it feels very tiring to type on the mobile.
Yes, I realized at that moment that perhaps the majority of us still find talking more convenient than texting.
Technology finds a place only by the convenience it offers. That’s why Voice Search has already started to lead in the race!
Some popular voice assistants that most of us already know about in voice search technology at present are “OK Google” & “Alexa”. Have you wondered how does this work?
Well, about a decade ago, I came across the automatic speech recognition (ASR) technology. There are multiple types of software available commonly these days, which convert your speech to text. Just for fun, I starting using one of these to type my emails. I first needed to “train” the software for my voice and accent with patience. Thanks to artificial intelligence and machine learning, later with time, it starting catching my dictations pretty well.
ASR has been very popular in the medical transcription industry for long, as time is very precious for medical professionals. Here, the voice files from very busy doctors/medical professionals are first converted to rough text files by ASR software and then this text is refined, edited, and corrected by trained/qualified humans to achieve quick volumes of transcription data. So, caught the simple secret behind voice search technology?
Let’s Start With “Okay Google”!
If you haven’t tried “OK Google” yet, start with the easiest voice command first. Note that when you start using voice commands, eventually your smartphone gets “trained” for your voice and accent and it will start catching your commands better with time.
So, the easiest thing to try is calling somebody from your mobile contacts list. I am trying to call my dad, for example. His number is saved in my contacts list as “Pop”. Follow these steps now:
#1. On your google search bar either say “OK Google” or just click on the microphone symbol as shown below.
#2. Now, say “Call Pop”. It will most likely again confirm who to call; repeat the contact name (here it is Pop).
#3. According to your accent and the complexity of the contact’s name, it may struggle a bit initially. So, try again if it does not understand the command.
#4. Finally, once it selects the right contact, it will start calling. In the screenshot below, you can see that the required contact, “Pop” has already been selected. If it has selected the wrong contact, cancel the call promptly at this stage :)
Isn’t this fun! So, let’s try one more.
Now, try setting an alarm. Steps:
#1. Say “OK Google” or click on the microphone.
#2. Say “set alarm”. A screen with alarm options will appear, similar to the one shown below.
#3. Fill the details on the alarm options screen.
Similarly, you can keep experimenting on many such commonly used words as voice commands for your mobile. Now that your phone is trained for your voice, start using voice search!
Why Voice Search is Gaining Popularity?
- It is a known fact that people find it much easier to speak than text. Talking is quicker than texting.
- Voice search can be used with other activities. For example, you are in the kitchen and cooking, you can still easily call somebody or voice search for anything without pausing your kitchen chores. This is a “hands-free” search experience.
- Talking is much more interesting than texting! It makes us feel as if we are communicating casually with a friend.
- Voice search is hassle-free and much easy to learn. Even people who are not that tech-savvy can easily manage this. So, it is likely that people of all age groups will adopt voice search soon, even those who were technology challenged or not confident enough to use text search on mobile phones.
- Time is precious for all of us. We leave no stone unturned to find ways to save a bit of time. Any technology we adopt in our day to day life is majorly aimed at saving “time” and leveraging this time on other important activities.
Voice Search Optimization, Why & How?
In short, the voice search offers enough reasons to become a favorite among the masses very soon. For business owners, the popularity of voice search has posed a major challenge again.
While you are still struggling to optimize your website for text search, accept that you cannot ignore voice search anymore and you need to optimize the business website and content for voice search too.
Do also read here, “some easy ways to optimize your business website for voice search”.