Report: Smart speaker owners increasingly using them instead of typing or swiping

Unlike VR headsets or wearables, smart speakers are rapidly emerging as a mass market technology platform. The latest to document relatively high satisfaction and usage of these devices is call-tracking and analytics company Invoca.
Earlier this year, Invoca surveyed 1,000 people in the US who own an Amazon Echo or Google Home device. The survey asked questions about current behavior and a range of hypothetical scenarios.
The company found that people use smart speakers more frequently over time, with 89 percent using them daily. Here’s a more detailed usage breakdown:

33 percent of owners said they used the devices more than five times daily.
28 percent used them four to five times a day.
24 percent used them two to three times a day.

In addition, 58 percent of respondents said that they used assistants to “accomplish tasks they used to do through typing or swiping.” So there’s some substitution going on, and there’s apparently an appetite for more.
By some estimates, Amazon controls

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Google Assistant now offering a wide range of games for kids and families

The battle of the smart speakers and home assistants is in full swing. And both Amazon and Google think that gaming and fun will help provide a competitive edge.
Amazon introduced Echo Buttons, which enable families to play Alexa-based games together, in September. Today Google announced a trove of games for families and kids: “[T]he Google Assistant now has more than 50 new games, activities and stories designed for families with kids.” They include trivia, musical chairs, storytelling and more.
Games for Google Assistant are available on Home devices, smartphones and other devices where the Assistant is available. This is also where Google seeks to compete, as a platform across more devices (“ambient computing”) than Amazon can offer.
Google has also made it possible to personalize the Assistant for kids under 13. Home devices can recognize up to six different voices. Accordingly, kids can use the same devices as their parents, but the Assistant will recognize the child’s voice and offer

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Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) conquer the competition for shoe retailer

In the highly competitive footwear vertical, no season matters more than late summer, when shoppers spend $27 billion on supplies and clothing for the coming school year.
According to the Deloitte back-to-school survey for 2017, some 55 percent of that spend, about $15 billion, is devoted to clothing and accessories. Late summer may be only the second-biggest shopping season of the year in the United States, but for verticals like footwear, it’s number one.
A top shoe retailer came to Brandify (disclosure: my employer) for a solution to boost local store visibility online. To achieve the retailer’s goal, we worked in collaboration with SEO consultant Steve Wiideman to implement Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) for the retailer’s nearly 500 US stores.
The open-source AMP Project, led and heavily promoted by Google in collaboration with Twitter, WordPress, Pinterest and LinkedIn, defines a lightweight standard for publishing web pages that makes them load very quickly on mobile devices. The standard includes special implementations

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AMP up your call conversions: 5 things you need to know

In Google’s world, site speed matters. And the search giant is pushing hard on AMP, its open source initiative to improve web page speed and performance for mobile users. But that speed comes at a cost for digital marketers. AMP eliminates scripts — including the scripts that help you track mobile calls.
Join Eric Enge and other AMP experts as they explore AMP’s pros and cons, as well as how leading technology providers are helping marketers identify AMP visitor sessions and track call sources. Implementing AMP doesn’t have to mean losing call tracking and attribution capabilities.
Register today for “5 Steps to AMP Up Your Call Conversions,” produced by Digital Marketing Depot and sponsored by CallTrackingMetrics.
The post AMP up your call conversions: 5 things you need to know appeared first on Search Engine Land.

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Pick up the phone: Your best customer is on the line.

Marketers cannot ignore offline channels. Customers no longer see a difference between digital and physical. In fact, in this age of digital connectivity, inbound phone calls are on the rise. And it is often these customers who call directly to a business are a marketer’s most valuable asset.
In May 2017, Marchex commissioned Forrester Consulting to examine how customers who initiate an inbound call during the customer journey perform against those who do not. Through an online survey of 213 marketing decision makers in the US, we found that the phone customer converts faster, spends more and churns less.
Learn more. Visit Digital Marketing Depot to download “Pick Up The Phone: Your Best Customer Is On The Line.”
The post Pick up the phone: Your best customer is on the line. appeared first on Search Engine Land.

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Google’s ‘Manhattan project’: Home device with a screen to compete with Echo Show

Google generally doesn’t do as well when it builds “follower” products — think Google Plus or Allo. But there are other examples where Google has excelled with later entries (e.g., AdWords, Maps). Right now, Google Home is a follower product seeking to break out of Amazon Echo’s shadow.
On paper, Google should win in this market. It has a larger developer ecosystem. And it has a better assistant. But Amazon is being very aggressive by innovating quickly and offering a dizzying array of devices at different price points. Amazon also has a more powerful sales channel. Overall, Amazon is out-innovating the rest of the “smart speaker” market at the moment.
Amazon now has two devices with screens: Echo Show and the new Echo Spot. According to TechCrunch, Google is also working on a Home device with a touchscreen:
Two sources confirm to TechCrunch that the Google device has been internally codenamed “Manhattan” and will have a similar screen size to

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Apple switches back to Google search results for iOS & Mac

Apple has switched back to using Google for their search results needs in both iOS and their Mac operating system over Spotlight search, TechCrunch reports. Google and Apple spokespersons confirmed this with Search Engine Land via email.
The “search the web” results you get in both search interfaces will no longer be pointing to Bing, but rather will show you results from Google. In 2014, Apple officially dropped Google results and switched to Bing. Google and Apple have a deal that’s been estimated to be worth $3 billion, and it is unclear if this is part of that deal or not.
Here is a statement TechCrunch received from Apple:
“Switching to Google as the web search provider for Siri, Search within iOS and Spotlight on Mac will allow these services to have a consistent web search experience with the default in Safari. We have strong relationships with Google and Microsoft and remain committed to delivering the best user experience possible.”
Here

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Google adds trending searches and instant answers to iOS app

With a new search app update for iOS, Google has added trending searches and instant answers. (TechCrunch noticed it earlier today.) It replicates a previously introduced Android feature which reportedly resulted in an outcry, causing Google to enable an opt-out.
In the “what’s new” discussion in the iOS App Store, Google says:

See searches that are trending around you when you tap on the search box to start a search
Get instant answers to your questions as you type them, before you even complete the search. Try it out by typing for “goog stock” or “how tall is the eiffel tower” and see the answer show up in the suggestions below the search box
Easily give feedback on any suggestions you see while typing — just swipe left and tap on the “info” icon

Here’s what it looks like:

The trending searches appear to be national rather than specific to my location. The data appear to be Knowledge Graph data, but it’s not

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Google Maps Android app adds ‘find parking’ feature to show you nearest parking garage

Google Maps is making it easy for Android users to find parking options.
The Android app now has a “find parking” button on the direction card that is displayed once you search for your location. The button leads to a list of parking garages and lots near the intended location.
Users can select their preferred parking option, and the app will automatically add it to their trip, along with walking directions from the parking spot to their destination.

The “find parking” feature was rolled out in 25 US cities, including Atlanta, Chicago, DC, Detroit, Portland, Orlando and St. Louis.
In addition to its latest feature, the app has expanded its “parking difficulty” feature for Android and iOS apps to 25 international cities, including Amsterdam, Dusseldorf, London, Milan, Rio de Janeiro and Vancouver.
When available, the parking difficulty icon appears in the bottom of a direction card screen, and it ranks parking availability as “limited,” “medium” or “easy” based on historical parking data.
The

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Augmented Reality: Where are we now, and what does it mean for marketers?

Summer 2016 seems like a lifetime ago, doesn’t it? Barack Obama was president, the Chicago Cubs were carrying on their 108-year losing streak and swimmer Ryan Lochte was busy fabricating a story about getting robbed at gunpoint while representing the US at the Rio Olympic Games.
One of the biggest digital stories to come out of last year was the meteoric rise of Pokémon Go. The mobile game brought augmented reality (AR) to the masses and effectively demonstrated the technology’s potential as a new platform for customer engagement.
Pokémon Go disappeared from the limelight almost as quickly as it appeared, solidifying its place as a pop culture curiosity that will almost certainly be covered in an “I Love the ’80s”-esque retrospective 20 years from now.
Pokémon Go’s story may be over for most, but what about its underlying technology? How has that fared over the past 12 months?
Well, augmented reality isn’t just for gamers anymore. It can be a major asset for

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