Some Thoughts About Voice Search Part II

Earlier this week, I published an initial list of characteristics that differentiate voice search experiences from traditional web search techniques. today, I would like to continue that post by highlighting some additional capabilities of voice search experiences as well as providing some general impression about the early voice search market.

In addition of the 5 capabilities listed in the previous article, here are a few others that should be taken into consideration when evaluating voice search technologies:

6 — Audio and Video Data Sources

Voice search mechanisms are likely to provide an improved experience searching voice and video file. The advancements on natural language understanding(NLU) technologies providers more sophisticated experiences for indexing video and audio data so that is can be effectively accessed by voice search interfaces.

7 — Composed Searches

User: Trinity (remember her? ), what are the main five subjects in Shakespeare plays and how they related to other authors from the same period?

The previous question composes two atomic search queries into a single one. That type of query is very common on human conversations but rather unusual to implement in web search experiences.

8 — Conversational Search

User: Trinity, what are the most popular US Presidential speeches of the last 25 years?

DA: Here are the results….

User: Ok, can you go back 50 years instead?

In the previous dialog ,the second search inquiry is dependent on the first question as well as the context of the conversation. Issuing this type of interrelated search queries as per of conversations with digital assistants should be a key element of voice search experiences.

9 — Questions vs. Long Searches?

Given the succinct characteristic of digital conversations, it is common that users will frame their search questions in the a form that is conducive a single and short answer. This model contrasts with traditional web searches that tend to produce a long list of results for users to interpret.

10 — Ambiguity

User: Trinity, what battles of Napoleon’s campaigns are references in The War and Peace?

The previous search can result ambiguous are there are many battles of the Napoleonic wars discussed in Tolstoy’s book but only a handful involve the characters of the novel. Reasoning through ambiguity is an intrinsic characteristic of human conversations that should be recreated in voice search experiences.

It Is Between Amazon and Google

Although the voice search market is just getting started, it seems destined to become a two-horse race between Amazon and Google. while Amazon has a head start in voice experiences with the Alexa service and family of devices, Google has a deep expertise and assets in search that will become relevant in the voice search market. The ubiquitous, multi-device adoption of Android is also a factor that will help Google provide a different level of sophistication when comes to voice search experience. While other players such as Microsoft or Samsung can become relevant in the voice search market, Google and Amazon seem to have an advantage today.

CEO of IntoTheBlock, Chief Scientist at Invector Labs, I write The Sequence Newsletter, Guest lecturer at Columbia University, Angel Investor, Author, Speaker.

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