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Voice Activated Search On Your Mobile

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    Voice activation on a mobile phone is nothing new, however if you can remember the pain of trying to initiate a call, or send a text with the inbuilt voice activation in various handsets, you are bound to be sceptical of all the new products out there claiming to be almost flawless.

    Arguable the most talked about system right now is the iPhone’s Siri assistant. Charged with a sense of humour and revolutionary speech recognising technology, Siri seems to understand your queries in a more natural way than the keyword based rigidity of Google Voice Actions.

    Is there much of a difference between Siri and Google Voice?

    In the USA, Siri uses Google and Yelp for most of it’s main web based queries, sometimes returning a straight answer to your question, other times offering a search engine result page taken from Google or Yelp. These search results are local by default, for example if you ask Siri for somewhere good to eat, ‘she’ will know that this means restaurants, and will show you a selection in your area. This is yet another opportunity for businesses to optimise their local listings, both on Google Places, and other local ratings sites (For example, urbanspoon.com).

    Comparing Google’s Voice Actions with Siri, they are fairly comparable, however Siri’s voice processing is much better at discerning the ‘meaning’ of what the user wants. Google’s voice app will also not make notes, but will compose emails and set reminders. As Siri becomes more popular (that is, if people adopt this technology long term) Google will no doubt rise to the challenge of beating Apple. In early December, Google bought a start-up company called ‘Clever Sense’ which uses an app called “Alfred” to help complete commands on the Android OS. It’s not even in Beta yet, but it is sure to have no shortage of beta testers once released.

    What about this ‘sense of humour’ that Siri has?

    As a cute addition to the database of Siri’s knowledge, the programmers have added a few humourous replies for when Siri is stumped or is asked something inappropriate. For example, asking Siri if she wants to take over the world gets the very specific answer: “Yes, someday in 8042”; creepily, she will direct you to the nearest swamp if you ask where the best place to bury a body is.

    What will this mean for search?

    For search and SEO purposes, not much will change for your website; however as local listings will take precedence more and more, it is essential to keep up to date with your Google Places reviews and information. If you do have a business that thrives on ratings, like a restaurant, make sure your reputation management is kept up to date, as the voice activated search technology evolves, information is sure to be drawn from multiple sources, however at the moment; even Siri is depending on Google for the bulk of her search queries.

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