What is Voice Search and Why it’s The Future

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Deena Zaidi
voice search

In 2015, 1.7 million voice-first devices were shipped across the U.S. But the number soon rose up to 6.5 million in 2016. The increase in the trend captured the growing demand for voice-search in the coming years.

What is voice search?

Voice-search technology has existed for many years but its evolution has just begun.

From automated voice recognition phone system to simplified voice to text dictaphones, voice technology was adopted in different forms all across the globe.

But recent advances have radically transformed the way computers recognize human speech. Due to this major development, a voice-activated world may finally become a reality.  In its earnings call last year, tech giant Google acknowledged that the voice search could potentially drive an industry-wide change.

Voice search allows a user to depend on vocal commands and voice-search enabled digital assistants to handle search queries in real-time. Devices like Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana and Amazon’s Alexa are powered by data gathered across platforms and are no longer solely tied to our mobile devices and applications.

Voice search through digital personal assistants further simplifies commands through integrations.From Microsoft and Amazon to Google and Apple, all are independently integrating platforms to gather larger user support and get more people to use their products.


Why will voice search be the future?

1. Increased shift

The rising trends in the past couple of months show that major tech giants are centering their products around voice-based technology. A report released in 2016 by Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends showed that voice searches had increased more than 35-fold from 2008 to 2016. In 2016, as many as 40 percent of adults were using voice-enabled search on a regular basis. ComScore predicts that by 2020, more than 50 percent of searches will be voice-based.

2. Simple to use

With voice search and geolocation, people can get an answer to their queries with an immediacy, convenience, and intimacy that text-only search could never provide.  Powered by Artificial Intelligence,voice search can identify behavioral patterns and preferences of the user. Such predictive analysis allows it to understand and execute any upcoming demands of its user.

Moreover, the conversational language builds on previous queries and can execute tasks and even shopping transactions.

3. At par with human accuracy

The performance of voice search enabled devices work best if the error rate of its voice recognition software is low and closest to human voices. Hence the latest versions of digital assistants are more conversational in nature, inviting more people to use the system. Moreover, the programming behind voice-search has evolved considerably over the years, resulting in more improved search results.

Microsoft’s voice recognition software now has an error rate of 5.1 percent, equaling those of its human counterparts. Microsoft’s new record was able to surpass its own previous low of 5.9 percent in 2016.

4. Diversified skill set

The leading companies in voice-search are ensuring that their voice-enabled assistant becomes a part of the user’s daily routine. By integrating skills on voice-search digital assistants, these tech companies are creating a diversified skill set. From getting weather updates to latest news, the voice-search is happening in our homes, through our phones and our desktops. An example is that of Amazon Alexa which is equipped with over 10,000 Alexa skills.

According to Google, their Google Assistant is available on more than 400 million devices. These devices include Google Home, Android phones and tablets, iPhones, TVs, watches and many more.

5. Growing International presence

Evolution in voice-search technology is already happening and to be fair, the tech leaders are already tapping international markets. Amazon remains a clear leader with 37,000 different skills in major markets like – the USA, the UK, and Germany.

Other firms making way in the voice-search technology are trying to catch up with Amazon and Google. Samsung launched its virtual assistant, Bixby, to join the race of the voice-search technology. Web-services giant Baidu in China has launched its own version of a digital assistant called DuerOS, which has conversation-based skills. DuerOS is placed to target a huge market share in Southeast Asia, starting with China’s 731 million online users.


Researchers continue to improve the voice-search speech technology but given the plethora of numerous dialects and different accents across the globe, an efficient voice-search lies in its ability to decipher and answer complicated queries.

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Published by Deena Zaidi

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