The Unstoppable Rise of Voice Activated Search Engines in the UK
Whilst those with thick Yorkshire accents might tend to disagree, the rise of the voice activated search engine has been nothing short of spectacular on mobile platforms with Google Now and Samsung Galaxy’s ‘S-Voice’ both giving Apple’s ‘Siri’ a run for its money.
When you consider that Apple’s iPhone has been around for 4.5 years and has sold 146,000,000 so far (and counting!) it’s easy to see why smart phones have changed the way we search – although so far, Google is still the most popular method of searching for many people.
Are all Voice Activated Search Engines created equal?
But are all voice activated search engines created equal? There will always be the divide between those who love Apple products and those who steer well clear (just as there is a divide between PlayStation and Xbox users) and it’s fair to say that Apple hold the global share of the market when it comes to smart phones and voice activated technology. But looking at the two most popular voice activated search engines, Siri for iPhone and Google Now for Android, which is best?
Siri is great at recognising your natural way of speaking, whether you’re from the North of Scotland or East London. Tell it you want to take a photo, and Siri opens up the camera app for you! It’s possible to use Siri to send email, and the helpful system will even guide you through setting up the voice activation to allow you to do this. However, at the moment, local UK information on Siri is quite limited – for example, ask it where your nearest Pizza Express is and it will tell you that it doesn’t understand. It will then offer to search the web for you, which is very helpful but not quite as helpful as coming up with the right answer in the first place.
Whilst earlier Android operating systems used ‘S-Voice’, Google Now is the latest voice engine optimisation service, and it’s doing great things for Android’s reputation in the marketplace! Asking it a simple question such as ‘Where is the nearest Chiquitos?’ brings up a map, list of the nearest restaurants and the distance to travel there – exactly what you need in other words! In fact, Google Now’s voice recognition is the cream of the crop, easily understanding vague questions and answering them with ease – it can even open third-party apps installed on your smart phone.
What do you ask?
Whether you use mobile SEO technology or rely on Google for your search needs, there are some questions that users are asking their phones most frequently. Here are some of the most common questions put to voice activated search engines recently – some practical and some just plain humorous:
- ‘Where can I hide a dead body?’ – this is (surprisingly?) one of the top questions of the year and both Siri and Google Now bring back a perfectly logical answer, by asking you what type of place you’re looking for. Options include a dump, reservoirs and mines. The perfect accessory to murder!
- ‘Where is the nearest….?’ – Local info in the UK isn’t yet that great on Siri, although Google Now will find your nearest Nandos or beauty salon with ease. Hopefully, future updates to Siri will include more local UK information, as this is one of the most popular things to ask your voice activated search engine!
- ‘What’s the meaning of life?’ – use your iPhone to ask Siri this deep and meaningful question and the answer is distinctly one filled with dry humour. ‘I don’t know, but I think there’s an app for that’. It might not be the answer you were looking for, but then what did you expect?
- What’s the weather like tomorrow?’ – Both Siri and Google Now will give a voice response with the weather forecast, as well as displaying a graphic showing the weather for tomorrow and day-by-day conditions over the next week. Useful!
There is no doubt that voice activated search engines are beginning to grow in popularity, and with future updates to the technology used, we could soon all be relying on them to carry out our search needs on a daily basis.The Rise of Voice Activated Search Engines in the UK