Google takes voice search to Chrome: The rise of conversational search

03/03/2014

Google is testing a new version of its Chrome browser that incorporates voice search, following on from similar move in its Google Glass and Google Now software. But how will the shift to voice affect search habits, and what impact with this have on paid and organic search engine marketing?

Watch this video from Google's Matt Cutts here, explaining how voice inputs affect search habits:

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The “Hands-Free Google Voice Search,” tool lets the user perform a search query simply by speaking up and activating the feature with a spoken command.

Ji Adam Dou, software engineer and 'Search Whisperer', at Google, said: “If you’ve ever tried to cook and search at the same time – say, when your hands are covered in flour and you need to know how many ounces are in a cup – you know it can be tricky. With the latest Chrome Beta, you can search by voice on Google – no typing, clicking, or hand-washing required. Simply open a new tab or visit Google.com in Chrome, say “Ok Google,” and then start speaking your search.”

Dou says that hands-free voice search for Chrome will make its way to Windows, Mac, and Linux-based Chrome users “over the next few days.” Support for languages other than English will arrive “soon,” Dou says, as well as integration with Chrome OS.

The changing face of search- less keywords and more conversational?

As Google continues to push voice input across its devices, from smartphones and tablets to browsers and is upcoming Google Glass, it’s clear the internet giant believes that voice and gesture-based inputs will slowly replace keyboard-based ones. But how will this affect search habits, and what impact with this have on paid and organic search engine marketing?

This is largely down to the conversational mode people adopt when they conduct in voice searches, as opposed to entering on a keyboard via a PC, laptop or mobile.

When someone is looking for an plumber and they do a voice search, they might say, “Where can I find a really good plumber?”, opposed to doing a typed search for something like, “Plumber, London.”

As a result, users will no longer need to click on a web page to get information, limiting search traffic as they get all the info they need from Google’s search results page.

For marketers, this means they will need to adapth their search strategies, oth paid and via SEO, to ensure their appear for a conversational voice search.

In addition, follow up questions are likely to become common in voice search, as only a limited amount of information can be delivered in each response- another area that marketers need to be aware of.

Google’s own Matt Cutts, often considered a key authority of the search engine’s algorythms, recently said : “It is definitely the case that if you have something coming in via voice, people are more likely to use natural language. They are less likely to use search operators and keywords and that sort of thing and that is a general trend that we see.”

Other Chrome changes- import users

With the latest Chrome Beta update, the admin user will also be able to allow supervised users browse on any other device within the same managed environment via an 'Import' option. Describing the Import user option, "When you import a supervised user, all their permissions will then be synced across devices."

Users can test the latest version of the Chrome beta here.

Read the official blog announcement here

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