“The destiny of Google's search engine is to become that Star Trek computer, and that's what we are building.”
This was what Amit Singhal, the head of Google’s search rankings team, famously said about the future of Google’s search technology during a conversation with Guy Kawasaki at SXSW Interactive in 2013. During the past decade, Google has taken several bold steps toward this lofty, ambitious goal, and one of the most exciting advances has been in the field of voice search and natural language processing technology.
Although Google’s voice search doesn’t feature the vocal talents of Majel Roddenberry as the Star Trek computer did in the show’s many long-running incarnations (yet – there’s still time to beat Apple to it, Google), it has become as close to its fictional inspiration as contemporary technology will allow.
However, there’s far more to Google voice search than mere convenience; it’s changing the way Google handles search queries, how users search for the information we need, and even our attitudes toward search engines in general.
In today’s post, we’ll be delving deep into what makes Google voice search so unique. We’ll be taking a quick look into the history of how Google developed its revolutionary voice search tech, before examining how its development has impacted Google’s wider approach to search. We’ll be looking at how businesses and marketers can develop content, ad campaigns, and strategies with voice search in mind. Finally, we’ll brave our own final frontier and speculate about what Google voice search might look like in the coming years – and the possibilities may not be as fantastical as they may once have seemed.
There’s a lot to cover, so grab a coffee and let’s get right to it.
What Is Google Voice Search?
Google Voice Search is a function that allows users to search the Web using Google through spoken voice commands rather than typing.
Google Voice Search can be used on both desktop and mobile searches. In some instances, users must say a “wake” phrase to tell Google to begin analyzing what the user says, which is “OK, Google.” This can be done either via a hands-free voice command on certain mobile devices and operating systems, or by tapping or clicking on the microphone icon to the right of the main Google search field:
Other than how users activate and use voice se