In 2014, Andrew Ng, Chief Scientist at Baidu, predicted that “In five years’ time at least 50 percent of all searches are going to be either through images or speech.” Like the discharge of the starter’s gun at a track and field sporting event, the futurist picked up the quote as if it were an absolute certainty. But as with all predictions the likelihood of certainty is tempered by a healthy amount of those things that are out of the control of even the most enlightened among us. After all, if an early prediction by a well- known global climate change enthusiast would have been accurate, a large number of us living along the east coast of the United States would be living in sea water by now. It is not to say that the predictions of weather or technology won’t still become reality; it’s that the time frame of “sooner or later” may be more accurately realized.
The good news is that the predictions of voice search overtaking the key punch method will most certainly come to pass. The bad news is that the next generation will miss out on typing lessons, learning the art of cursive and creative writing classes. In the end, technology and science and speech lessons will prevail. The time-curve may be drawn by user’s acceptance of the technology, the measure of its importance in their lives and the user’s accessibility to the gadgets, both hard and soft, that will be required to implement voice commands dependably. As it has come to pass in the past, technology will prevail.
Regardless of whether it is 30 percent or 50 percent, 2019 will be the year that voice search commands will significantly change the landscape of internet search. “Voice-only search allows users to browse the web the Internet and consumer information without actually having to scroll through sites on desktops and mobile devices.” Voice search drastically improves the search experience for users. Speaking in short, simple phrases users can expect that their message is received and acted upon with only an occasional, “sorry, I don’t understand” reply. The smart marketer will begin to move their investment in SEO to voice optimization in the coming year in order to improve their brand awareness and online revenue. It is expected that voice search eCommerce will rise to $40 billion by 2022, and whether we are likely to get our feet wet by the rising tide or become drowned in almost total submersion still remains to be seen. So how soon do we divert greater amounts of our marketing budgets to implementing voice search?
Brent Csutoras, digital marketing consultant and Managing Partner at Search Engine Journal says, “This space is going to open up, it is going to provide an opportunity for just about everyone, so stay abreast of what’s happening in this space, watch the technology, and start envisioning your company in that space, and then wait until you have that opportunity to make that a reality. But don’t overstress yourself and feel like you’re failing because you’re not in the space right now.”