Google voice search – because who has time to type these days? We all have better things to do, like binge-watching Breaking Bad or looking at pictures of babies trying to lift weights. Finger exercise was the last remnant of physical activity for office drones, which means this future is only a few decades away:
We could debate about how much Google had contributed to the obesity epidemic while improving our techno-lives, but to be fair, Google Voice Search is a pretty nifty move by Google. Google has been continuing to build on its development, making our online activity even lazier easier.
Last month Google did some upgrades on Google voice search, enabling Google search to connect with your other Google accounts to deliver personal information to users. In this post we’ll be going into more depth about this new update, and what we can expect regarding the future of voice search.
What is Google Voice Search? I Know it Seems Obvious, But…
While defining what Google Voice Search is seems totally gratuitous, it’s necessary considering Google’s plethora of projects and overlapping names. Mainly we need to distinguish Google Voice Search from Google Voice. Google Voice is a voicemail service, whereas Google Voice Search lets users input search queries and mobile commands via speech. I know, right? Calm down Google.
How to Use Google Voice Search: New Google Voice Search Commands
Google Voice Search is primarily intended for mobile users, as the voice function makes it easy to search Google without using cumbersome touchpads or the QWERTY keyboard. Using Google Voice Search is as simple as a tap – just hit the voice button you can find alongside the Google search box and ask the all-knowing Googs for help.
Image taken from Google Search Insights
Until recently, Google Voice Search was primarily meant for entering search queries, but since August 2013, Google Voice Search can be used for more complex commands that relate to personal data. Some ways to take advantage of the new Google voice search commands include:
- Flights: Ask Google “Is my flight on time?” and you’ll get info on your upcoming flights and status updates on current flights.
- Reservations: Ask for “my reservations” and Google will show you your upcoming dining plans. Ask for info about “my hotel” to get your hotel name and address, along with directions on how to get there.
- Purchases: Ask Google search for “my purchases,” and you’ll get the status of current orders.
- Plans: Ask Google “What are my plans for tomorrow?” to see a summary of upcoming appointments, flights, reservations and events.
- Photos: Say “Show me my photos from Europe” to see the photos you uploaded to Google+. You can also ask for “my photos of dogs” if you want to see all the shots of dogs you’ve taken over the year. Google automatically recognizes the type of photo you’re asking for.
Cool commands like these have already been available for Google Now users, but now that they’re built into Google voice search, anyone can take advantage of commands like these and let Google be your personal assistant.
Naturally you need to be signed in to your Google account for these new voice commands to work, since Google has to delve into your calendar and Gmail to obtain this info. If the whole idea of this creeps you out (as it will some people) you can turn off Google voice search options in your Google account settings.
Google Voice Search: Performing on A Device Near You
Android Google Voice Search: Google voice search for Android comes baked in to modern Android devices, and can easily be accessed by the voice button beside the Google search widget.
Photo by Johan Larsson
Android users can do more than just Google voice searches – they can use voice action commands to conduct specific actions on Android devices. Like…
- “Open Angry Birds”
- “Create a calendar event: Breaking Bad Finale party on September 29”
- “Directions to iParty”
- “Send email to Patti Mayonnaise, subject picking up Doug from the airport, message what time do we need to pick up Doug from the airport question mark, should we bring a sign question mark.” (I know, speaking punctuation marks feels silly. Period.)
- “Listen to The Scientist by Coldplay”
- “Set alarm for 7:15 am”
Check out Google for a full set of Android voice action commands.
iPhone Google Voice Search: Are you an iPhone user? Conducting a Google voice search via iPhone requires that you download the Google Search app before shouting questions and commands at your mobile device.
Google Voice Search for Desktop: Maybe you’re one of those folks whose beeper nostalgia won out against the smartphone. For you, there’s Google Voice Search for Desktop.
Image from Google Inside Search
Truthfully, using Google Voice Search on a PC will likely just infuriate your co-workers, but if you simply must search by voice, you’ll need the latest version of Chrome and a built-in or attached microphone. Then it’s just a matter of navigating to the Google homepage and clicking the voice search option.
There’s also a Google Voice Search Chrome extension that keeps a microphone icon for voice search ever-present in your browser’s toolbar if you’d rather not go to the Google homepage every time you want to enter in a voice command.
What does Google Voice Search Mean for the Future of SEO and PPC?
Voice search functionality goes hand in hand with Google’s continued emphasis on all things local, since it’s commonly thought that the primary use of voice search is to find info while driving (look ma, no hands!). Digital devices have made it possible to do absolutely no preliminary planning whatsoever – just leap into your car and let Google figure out where the nearest JoAnn Fabrics is. Efforts in predicting on-the-move voice search queries could be the next big thing for PPC.
Mobile search queries already tend to be pithy, and we can expect the same with many search queries conducted by voice. Users suppose that the longer they speak, the less chance they have of being interpreted correctly, so they keep most queries brief. In truth, voice interpretation has come a long way in the past few years, but we’re not accustomed enough to trusting voice tools yet.
What’s Next For Google Voice Search?
Conspiracy theorists will likely have a field day with Google Voice Search – do we even want to talk about the possibility of Google collecting data for voice recognition? As if Facebook face recognition for tagging photos wasn’t creepy enough?
If Google Voice Search is collecting voice data, it will likely be a huge aid in furthering Google Glass. Google Glass relies almost exclusively on voice search, so Google wants to understand your commands better than a dog begging for treats.
Even the cat is curious (Photo by David K)
Do you use Google Voice Search? Why or why not? Let us know your feelings in the comments!