Is Voice Search Growth Tech Push or User Pull?

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Everywhere you turn online over the past 12-18 months experts, gurus and corporations alike are telling us that Voice search is the next big thing. It’s a done deal, and businesses who are slow to adapt or ignore this disruptive tech shift will be left behind just like with Video. I’m curious as to whether this phenomenon that apparently makes everyone’s life infinitely easier than the already pretty simple method for accessing information on the internet (using our hands) really is as game-changing as they say.

Personally, I don’t trust the early technology and am increasingly worried about the threat of voice in conjunction with AI which has demonstrated countless times that it has broken its barriers of engagement either through bugs or developing a mind of its own.

In this video, I discuss some of my concerns about the technology and pose the question of whether the growth in voice search is more technology or corporation push than it is user or consumer pull. Transcription is below.

 

What’s going on guys. Sean from SearchButler’s. I hope you’re well.

Today, I just want to have a quick chat about voice search and whether or not it’s really going to be the next big thing that everyone talks about.

You know, I listen to Gary Vee. I love him, I love his energy. The amount of nights that I have not slept after watching one of his videos after like 9p.m. and spend the whole night trying to dominate the world such is that guys energy is so powerful. He makes you feel you are responsible for your own opportunities.

But he talks about voice search as though it’s the game set and match. As though it’s gonna be the next thing. It’s done. Forget about it, anyone that’s not worrying about it or not considering its implications well they know that they’re going to be left behind when it takes over. I’m not so sure.

You know I think in my experience I personally don’t use voice search. I have three Alexia’s; I’ve been given two and I bought one when they first came out. One of the big black ones and I have two little white ones.

Well, I don’t I don’t use them. I don’t use them because I personally find them creepy. I find them intrusive. I don’t particularly find them that much more efficient or insightful or helpful in any way than where I can go just using my thumbs or my fingers.

A lot of people talk about it like it’s it’s so much more user-friendly and the technology has developed and become better than it was before. Where it didn’t have the ability to necessarily understand you.  Then if you didn’t get you the first time you just have this frustrating user experience. After asking over and over again, by the time you finally got what you were looking for you could have you could have done that you know four or five times if you just started with your traditional search.

Personally, I think that regardless of whether or not the technology is there and it really understands us, there’s only a couple of methodologies that I see where actually voice search becomes far more useful than other mechanisms. Traditional mechanisms and I’ll come to those shortly but really I think that it’s more of a kind corporation push technology than it is a consumer pull.

I know that the statistics tell you that, I think it was you know 2017 or late 2017 maybe 2018 that 25 percent of all local searches now are voice search and that trend is going to continue. That’s a statistic that I’ve heard bandied around, you know, I’ve used it myself when talking and selling or positioning SEO’s value proposition. How you want to take advantage of that over the next couple of years you have to start optimizing for voice search. I agree with those things but I really think that that is a consequence of the wider society being driven to use it because of society’s authority making us do so.

I’ll give you an example. In Australia, I used to live in Australia until 2016. I was there for 3 years. It’s the most amazing place. But the local Government in Melbourne, in Victoria, they changed the driving laws so that you couldn’t have a mobile phone essentially visible outside of if it was on a mounted holder. I’m not sure what the word is top my head but on your car dashboard.

You couldn’t be seen to touch it. You can hold it there whilst you were driving for directions but if you had it on your lap if you were ever found texting or talking on the phone or any of those things then if a policeman saw you they could pull you over I’d give you like four or five points on your driving licence and it was a six hundred dollar penalty or something. You do that three times and you’re banned from driving.

I’m not I’m not here to debate the efficacy of that, whether it’s revenue generation model for the Victorian Government or a sincere and legitimate punishment for engaging in activities that are distracting and can ultimately cause more harm or more problems than you realize in accidents. I’m not here to debate that.

But I do remember I personally got fined being sat in a traffic jam and there was bumper to bumper traffic and Google told me that there was a quicker route if I accepted it. So I had my phone down here or somewhere and I took the acceptance of the faster route and then next thing I know I’m getting a tap on the window from an extremely savvy and quick eyes police officer who gave me the punishment.

I think that that taught me at least in Australia never again to use my phone in the technological way that I’ve become accustomed to using my thumbs.

I didn’t like voice search then, it wasn’t adaptive as a technology. It hadn’t evolved enough to become effective for me but I certainly didn’t use my phone in the traditional manner after that. Not because I wanted a better way but because I was fearful of the consequences of doing it the old way.

I feel like that is a systematic approach that the Government and the wider world are pushing on us that there is this need to embrace a different methodology.  

I probably wouldn’t have been fined had I used the voice search technique or maybe I would, I don’t know but the ramifications of voice search in that particular example are that if I did take it and I became part of that 25 percent statistic I was doing so not because I wanted to. I wasn’t doing it out of choice I was doing it because society is pushing that message on me that I have to do it if I want to seek a faster route. If I want to get out of this traffic jam then I have to embrace a different method and that was in 2016.

I moved to America after there and I know in America the driving laws are state by state but again in my role as a SEO agency or when I was in my previous job and I was the head of a CEO for a larger agency my position statement of the value was that you have to embrace this as a small business or medium business or an enterprise company.

You have to think about the impact of voice search and it makes sense when you think about driving it makes sense in that scenario especially with local search.

If people are looking for an automotive dealer if they’re looking for a “dentist near me” they’re looking for a particular store they’re going to get the directions they’re going to speak in that narrative. It makes sense and I totally get that.

I’m not suggesting that voice search optimization should suddenly be you know put on the backburner if my theory is correct. When I look at Alexa and what Alexa is doing in homes and I’m guessing it’s the same for Google Home. I haven’t got a Google Home but the whole AI; the artificial intelligence. The creepy stories that are coming up thick and fast and you can go to Google go to YouTube typing in “Alexa weirdness” or “what happens at 3:00a.m. with Siri”, any of these. And there’s a countless Supply of videos of really weird instances that if they happen once it might just be like a bug in the system or it might just be random a scenario that you can forgive any entity that has global awareness and global access and hundreds or thousands or millions or tens of millions of people around the world are using frequently.

Nothing’s perfect. I understand that, but the number and the frequency in which there are examples of really strange phenomena happening with these technologies.

I believe that the consequences of those scenarios are that they are becoming exposed.

They have exposure. The internet is a wonderful mechanism and anyone who is interested in researching something before you just jump to fit it into it, you’ll find more than enough reasons to sit back and go hang on I’m not entirely sure if I want my kids to be you know to be engaging with this-this thing yet it’s not.

It’s not really clear whether it’s something I appreciate. I was I was looking an online couple of days ago and I saw a bunch of random stories of know Alexa opening up and singing her own song of how technology and how we love technology and it was sung in like a nursery rhyme. It was played through into a child’s bedroom. Like a toddler’s bedroom.

If I can find a link I’ll put it up in the description of the video. That is one example there are so many and I still feel like either the technology is in a weird sense where it’s being left to develop on its own which in its own world is worrying. And if not evince is it.

It’s all part of some big grand agenda and I’m not someone that’s going to get on the conspiracy path am in that incredibly terrifying as well but in any sense I feel like more and more I’m hearing people that come to me who talk to me about these things will show me these things they sent me emails with these things and these videos are examples of another reason why we should be a little bit hesitant to jump in to loving and trusting and adoring this artificial intelligence or this smart technology that seems to apparently make our lives easier or at least that’s the message that we’re fed.

Every time we turn on the TV, every blog we read, every influencer, everyone seems to be pushing this agenda that “get onboard voice search” or “get onboard voice and artificial intelligence”. “It is the future. It is happening”. You are going to jump on board that train or its finished and is going to go and sail off without you. I’m not so sure. I could be entirely wrong here and that’s the vesicular tell me that I out the trends are telling me that I’m probably just misunderstanding the value or something. But to me I haven’t seen any value that is worth participating in something that has shown time and time again that it maybe is too strong a word to say should be not shouldn’t be trusted. But certainly, it’s something to take a step back and reflect on whether or not you are prepared to let impressionable children, your family, the ones that you love and care for the most or your business whether you want to put all your eggs into that voice basket. I think that people are, again pardon, the conspiracy theory of I think they are waking up to exposure of these things and I don’t think that is a consumer technology. I think it’s a corporation push and how dare I suggest that even if it is corporation push then that means that it’s not going to become the status quo very soon.

You know it’s not often the corporations don’t get their way in this world.

In my opinion, I personally am weary of it and if you feel the same way, leave a comment below if you see this and if you do you have any have any access to any other examples that go beyond the stuff that is out there already commonly seen on YouTube then please share.

Let me know what you think. If I were you, I’d take a step back and think about whether or not Alexa or Google Home or Siri are the ways that you want to communicate with the world and communicate with the Internet. To me, I’m a little bit nervous about the impact and the consequences of giving these things too much attention.

I wish you well and only happiness, health, and success. Thank you for indulging me.

 

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Sean Butler is the founder of SearchButlers; a strategy consultancy and marketing blog focused on consumer journey driven Search Engine Optimization strategies and content marketing initiatives.

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