The Rise of Global Voice Search

welocalize March 14, 2022

You’ve likely heard of the likes of Siri, Cortana, Alexa, Google Home, and more. These voice assistants and other voice-enabled applications are changing the game when it comes to voice search. Millions of people worldwide use them to make online searches, daily. 

What was once thought of as a novelty, is now very much becoming the norm. The last few years have seen significant growth in the voice-enabled applications market. With the number of voice assistants expected to reach 8 billion units globally by 2023. This growth is here to stay and is likely to only continue to rise.  

The usability and simplicity of voice search seems to be what appeals to consumers. According to Google, 72% of people who own a voice-activated speaker say that their devices are often used as part of their daily routine. In fact, a recent outage in the UK proved that users now depend on these voice-enabled applications, even for simple, everyday tasks.  

It’s clear that voice search offers a wealth of opportunities and is something that global brands will need to embrace sooner, rather than later.

 

What is Voice Search and how does it work?  

Put simply, voice search allows users to perform a search on the internet, a website, or an app by using your voice, as opposed to manually typing your query into a search engine. This is where speech recognition technology comes in.  

These voice automated systems work by using natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning to understand the intent behind the search allowing them to decipher and act on certain queries, instructions, and calls to action. This speech recognition technology allows virtual assistants to understand, interpret, and respond verbally, replicating human conversation.  

Advancements in these AI-enabled technologies have had a huge impact on the growth and adoption of voice search. As they’ve continued to be trained and fed with data, they’ve become more effective at providing intelligent conversations, and they even sound more like humans!

 

The Benefits of Voice Search 

Customer expectations have shifted. Alongside the dramatic shift to digital, customers want more convenience and personalization. So, with it, the technology has improved, and it’s clear that customers are more open to voice search and voice-enabled technologies to help make that happen.  

1. More Convenience 

With people craving convenience, it’s no surprise that voice search is on the rise. Over 20% of the total number of Google searches on mobile are now voice. Whether on the go, hands free, or just don’t want to use your keyboard, using your voice is much faster.  

Voice search and assistants also allow immediate purchasing abilities. With over 42% of global consumers now online shopping via voice assistants. Something that may have once taken several hours by visiting a physical store, can now be done in minutes by simply using their voice.  

2. Multilingual Voice Search 

With people all over the world making searches, these voice-enabled systems must be multilingual too. Doing so allows users to use voice technology regardless of the language they speak, and for a global brand allows you to have greater reach and influence with your customers all over the world.  

Removing these language barriers and the ability to continue introducing more and more languages all the time, will likely mean that the adoption of voice search will only continue to grow. 

3. Enhance Customer Experience  

Before voice search, a user would typically have to sift through pages upon pages of FAQs and information to find the answer to their question – often infuriating when the answer couldn’t be found! Based on the query, a voice assistant can quickly and easily pull the relevant information or article in a matter of seconds.  

Customer queries can be answered much quicker and more efficiently, as well as providing a much more personalized level of service.  

Further Reading: Global CX: The Power of Localization + AI in Customer Support

 

Accuracy is still a challenge.  

There are still a number of challenges with voice-enabled applications. Many people are still not fully convinced of their accuracy.  

As most voice searches are of a conversational tone, there are lots of factors that can influence the response from a voice assistant – dialects, accents, slang, even sarcasm and background noise. In fact, over 66% of people have faced issues regarding accent or dialect recognition. 

However, the more we use voice search and the more questions asked, the more the system learns. With more data, and improved technology, voice-enabled applications will get better at understanding and recognizing different accents and dialects.

 

Privacy Concerns 

For many people, privacy has been noted as a big concern with voice search. Nobody wants to be spied on. Microsoft found that 41% of users have concerns around trust, privacy, and passive listening when it comes to voice search.  

This is likely to mean that many of the tech companies will need to become more transparent on what happens to users’ voice search data, and how it is being used and stored, to continue to see growth in this area.  

 

It’s clear that the use of voice search is accelerating globally, and not slowing down anytime soon. Global brands need to embrace this adoption to meet customer demands and take advantage of its opportunities to ensure global growth. 

For more information on Welocalize AI Services, contact the team here

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