Why retailers shouldn’t overreact to the voice search revolution

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If recent accounts on the rise of voice search are anything to go by, the volume of long-tailed queries with more natural language and searches with a question is heading nowhere but up and to the right. This, the argument goes, should in turn impact our digital strategy as we strive to account for the inherent differences in typed search vs. voice search.
Taking a look at the search queries triggering paid and organic results for retail brands using Google’s paid and organic reporting in AdWords, however, there hasn’t been much movement over the past couple of years for a few key query attributes that would indicate a major shift in search behavior.
This makes the excitement surrounding voice search sound a lot more like those way-too-early “year of mobile” declarations than anything that needs to be rapidly addressed by all sites and brands.
And while the research presented here is far from the be-all, end-all in

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The voice search explosion and how it will change local search

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Since I noted Timothy Tuttle of Mindmeld’s LSA16 comments about the sudden increase in the volume of voice search queries, I’ve noticed an increasing number of articles on the subject. If the attention being given voice search is an indication of its anticipated impact on the marketplace, then it’s going to be a big deal.
The potential for voice search to become a major search medium is well illustrated by the number of slides Mary Meeker devotes to the topic in her annual Internet Trends report that was just released this month. Out of 213 slides, Mary included 23 slides on voice search. And while the numbers on voice search growth vary quite widely, they all agree on one trend: explosive growth.

2016 Internet Trends Report from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers
Explosive growth and the reason behind it
At LSA 16, Tuttle shared that within one year (last year), the use of voice search went from a

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The future of voice-related SEO for local business

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On May 18, Google brought hundreds of developers together for Google I/O, its annual developer conference. Hot topics included artificial intelligence, natural language processing, voice recognition, translation and new product announcements — Google Home, Google assistant and Allo.
Maybe you’ve heard about some of these, but I’m going to share thoughts on how you should adapt your local marketing to these developments. But first, a brief recap of some of these announcements.
Google Home is Google’s answer to Amazon’s Echo. It’s a voice-activated speaker-like device that can intelligently listen to commands, return answers to queries from Google Search, control home automation, play music and set appointments using a new platform called Google assistant.
Allo is Google’s new messaging app. It uses integrated machine learning and continues to learn your style over time, making it more convenient for users to get things done — make reservations, list tasks, schedule meetings and so on. It also features Smart Reply,

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What marketers need to know about Google assistant and Google Home

What started with Siri in 2010 is quickly leading to an age where consumers engage with the internet using only their voices, in much the way Captain Picard engaged with the computer on the USS Enterprise.
Google’s foray into voice search has been calculated and planned for years, according to Google CEO Sundar Pichai. It currently appears to be based on a closed system owned and overseen by Google, not on an open system like the trillions of websites that populate the internet are built on (i.e., HTML). I predicted this eventuality more than two years ago, after the Nest acquisition.
These are the problems and challenges brought by Google’s new assistant that marketers and SEOs alike need to be aware of.
Google I/O 2016 announcement
On May 18, 2016, Google announced Google Home, a speaker that houses the new Google assistant (Yes, it’s Google assistant with a lower-case a, not Google Assistant) platform and that resembles the Amazon Echo. The Home device seeks

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Google developing keyboard for iPhone in hopes of boosting search volumes [report]

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According to a report yesterday in The Verge, Google is about to release its own third-party keyboard for the iPhone. The report says that the keyboard will employ swiping/gesture-based typing and predictive text.
Google’s objective is apparently to increase the number of searches coming from iOS devices, the iPhone in particular. With the release of iOS 8, Apple allowed third-party apps to replace its own keyboard.
While there are numerous options today, the two most popular replacement keyboards for the iPhone are Swype and Swiftkey. Swype was acquired by Nuance in 2011, and Swiftkey was just bought this year by Microsoft. Apple doesn’t provide app-install numbers, but Swiftkey, for example, has more than 50 million installs on Android.
This analysis, cited by The Verge, argues that most smartphone users do less than one mobile search per day. However, there are tiers of users, some of whom do a lot of mobile searching, and others who do less. In

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“OK Google” Dropped As Way To Perform Voice Searches In Chrome On Desktop PCs

You can no longer say “OK Google” and cause Chrome to perform a voice-based search, at least on desktop. The latest version has dropped this support.
As spotted by VentureBeat, buried in the developer documentation about changes to the latest version released — Chrome 46 — is a note that this has been removed:
Disable ‘Ok Google’ hotwording on desktop Chrome.
This feature has been removed completely from Windows, Mac and Linux
builds of Chrome. ChromeOS is unaffected.
Those who use Chromebooks — which are based on Chrome — still have this feature for their laptops. It also does not impact Chrome for mobile.
VentureBeat says it was removed due to lack of use.
The post “OK Google” Dropped As Way To Perform Voice Searches In Chrome On Desktop PCs appeared first on Search Engine Land.

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Google’s iOS App Now Provides Context-Aware Conversational Search

Google recently updated its iOS app to bring context-aware searching to any content within search results. It allows searchers to ask additional questions without formulating entirely new queries.
Here’s how Google explains the functionality in the app update description:
Say “Ok Google” and ask a question while on any Web page to get smart answers about what you are looking at. Try saying “Ok Google, where was he born” while reading an article about William Shakespeare
Recognizing the context and subject matter of the original search or content, users can then ask ambiguous follow-up questions or use pronouns. In the example below, I searched for Santorini Greece. Instead of reformulating the query and identifying that I’m interested in Santorini hotels, I can simply say, “What are the best hotels there?”

This allows for a rapid succession of follow-up searches. I was permitted to ask a seemingly unlimited number of questions about the queries that I performed. For example, I asked roughly 10 questions in a row about Jimmy Carter

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Google Launches Custom Voice Actions For Third Party Apps

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Google is further expanding Voice Actions to third party apps to allow users to reach into apps on Android devices, beyond simply launching them. That’s according to a post this week directed to Android developers.
In some cases this appears to enable a version of in-app search:
Today, we launched our first set of partners for custom Google voice actions on Android. This feature will enable people to say things like “Ok Google, listen to NPR” or “Ok Google, show attractions near me on TripAdvisor.” We’re currently piloting custom voice actions with a select group of partners, but we plan to open it up more widely in the future — and we’d love to hear your ideas for actions you’d like to implement.
This development was rumored roughly a year ago. We wrote about it at the time. And it comes just as Microsoft is expanding Cortana integration of third party apps.
The site Android Police dubbed the

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