In 2011, the world was introduced to something called Siri. We were dazzled by a newfound ability to use our smartphones with our voices instead of with our fingers. Ten years later, voice assistants have evolved beyond what we could’ve imagined when we were first introduced to Siri.
Amazon, Google, and Apple now have their own versions of voice assistants, and it seems like everyone has (or is planning to get) a smart speaker. Experts predict that within a year or two, voice will become the default method for people to search the Internet.
A recent report by Vixen Labs showed that 60% of users 18-24, as well as 36% of people 25-34, prefer Siri to other assistants. Those older than 34 prefer Alexa.
Of course, like all technology issues, voice brings a privacy concern. Many aren’t yet comfortable using voice assistants in public spaces. According to the Vixen report, only 27% will use a voice assistant outside of their private space.
Part of the problem is that many users aren’t sure about a voice assistant’s true capabilities. The Vixen report showed that over two-thirds (76%) will use trial and error to discover what they can and can’t do. While a majority use voice to control music and check the weather, 91% searched using voice. That fact, in itself, conveys why every organization should focus on voice search rankings ( 41% use voice for online shopping, by the way).
But although voice search has become wildly popular, the space is still wide open for companies to stake their claim within this relatively new marketing channel. It’s an opportunity to grow brand recognition and boost sales.
Without question, voice has a bright future in the technology space. Like any nascent technology, voice will surely adapt to user habits, along with the fact that voice search will become the default search method for many people. As the technology matures, we’ll also see more personalized results based on user history and preferences. Voice assistants may even mature to the point of being able to respond based on the emotional qualities in one’s voice. Voice won’t just become an option, it will become a standard part of the universal interface.
Voice assistants also have great potential inside the walls of businesses and organizations. An increasing number of voice assistant architectures allow employees to build their own voice controls to manage their own business process. Meanwhile, some applications allow workers to amplify the capabilities of their voice assistants.
Not so long ago (for those of us of a certain age), we were amazed by the idea of the World Wide Web. Then we discovered that search engines could help us do a better job of finding the right information. With the birth of Google, the introduction of predictive technologies, and improvements in SEO, searching became exponentially more efficient. Voice is the next step in that evolution. No more typing, just talking. Now, you can simply say it and you’ll find it. This development is not only convenient for users, it can be an economic goldmine for companies.