Voice and visual search will ultimately become important engines for query volume beyond text input.
The future of the search begins with the letter “v” (voice, visual) - in voice and visual search.
Voice Search. Obviously, voice will be a universal interface for an increasingly diverse set of connected devices. The phrases “voice search on a computer” are already used in Yandex and Google. Unwillingness to type has affected all countries, so we are developing Russian voice search at a fast pace. However, the often cited statistics “50% of all searches in 2020 will be voice-activated,” has been discredited. However, in 2016, Google said: “In the Google app, 20% of search queries are now voice-activated.” Since then, the use of voice and virtual assistants has increased significantly.
Therefore, although this may not be 50%, voice input (on smartphones) already causes a non-trivial percentage of requests. We just don’t know exactly how much, because Google does not show this in statistics. And we tend to overestimate the effect of technology in the short term and underestimate the effect in the long term. So it will be with Google voice search.
Google and Bing visual search are moving fast. Visual search is less mature than voice search, but offers another compelling alternative to entering text in a field. Users know how to search a picture from a mobile phone - you go into the Google application and then on your computer. But Google is rapidly developing its new Lens picture search service, which now has a wide range of features: text translation, restaurant menu search, barcode scanning, clothing search by photo, and even clone search by photo. The most interesting thing for business is the search for goods by photo in the phone. More recently, Google introduced “style ideas,” where users can search for clothing in stores or otherwise in real life and see similar items, with the ability to buy many of them.
This type of visual search is based on computer vision, object recognition, and machine learning. Microsoft has also done a great job in this area since at least 2009, and is constantly updating and improving Bing's visual search. It also makes visual search available to third-party application developers.
Pinterest Lens. Pinterest’s visual search efforts are slightly less noticeable than Google and Bing. But the company is doing groundbreaking work in this area. Pinterest allows users to isolate elements and perform a visual search on them to find similar objects, or use the smartphone’s camera to identify objects and make purchases on the Internet in the Pinterest application. The last sentence is also called “Lens”.
Most recently, Pinterest introduced a feature linking Lens image search results to e-commerce information (price and seller link). In addition, saved photos from the “Lens” can be saved on the boards.
Local visual search. The ability to use the smartphone’s camera to search for objects, products or places offline is another form of local search.
Recent studies have shown a high level of demand and popularity for visual search, especially among millennials, as well as the preference for visual search over text on smartphones.
Why should marketers and SEO optimizers care? In general, retailers and marketers must optimize image search, and local marketers must ensure that their various local profiles (GMB, Yelp, Facebook, etc.) have a rich stock of images - profiles with optimized images are significantly superior to others.
So, the search field is expanding! SEO and content search are becoming more fragmented and complex. And although this may not be the case today, marketers need to start preparing for the time when consumers will use voice / virtual assistants and a smartphone camera just like they use text in a traditional search box to access information.
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