About That Voice Search. Flawed Maybe?

February 17, 2018

Voice search has been touted as the next exciting frontier in search and big data by pundits around the globe and right here. Undoubtedly, the potential for voice search are eye-popping. However, we are starting to wonder if, at best it will be another over-hyped tech bubble, or at worst a snake oil sale. We got to thinking more about voice search and its flaws from a recent Search Engine Land story, “What 3,000 Voice Search Queries Tell Us About the ‘Voice Search Revolution.”

The story’s author put his own family’s voice search data to the test to see if marketers and designers could draw anything valuable from it. His findings left us a little flat:

“I have three kids under 8 years old, so not every query was crystal clear. When I categorized the queries, “unknown” was my sixth-largest category, and it comprised queries like my six-year-old daughter asking Google Home, “Does Google Home belong to me or my little brother” and queries I didn’t know we were making, like “All right, Blake if you’re going to be good you can come down,” after I told my 3-year-old he could come down from his time out.”

This experiment and his other homework show that most users just ask for the weather or a kitchen timer or children request the same song a dozen times a day. Not exactly the mine of data we were hoping for. This falls right in line with others, like Digiday, who recently tried showing how flawed the voice search revolution is. These are convincing glimpses, but we are still holding out hope that there’s more behind the curtain.

Patrick Roland, February 17, 2018


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