As mobile, local and social all continue to gain steam in the online world, someone here at Anvil had the audacity yesterday to ask “what’s next?” At least this week, Apple’s iPhone 4S and its, in the words of David Pogue, “crazy good, transformative, category-redefining” voice assistant Siri are clearly pointing the way towards voice recognition as the next big trend and opportunity.
On 1st glance, voice recognition may seem like just a tool to control your existing applications, just like a mouse or a keyboard. But given that Siri can interact with almost every corner of a user’s iPhone — emails, maps, music, apps — it’s not hard to imagine that very soon companies and agencies will be angling to maximize their exposure through voice recognition.
If Bob asks his phone “where’s the nearest well-reviewed sushi restaurant?” how does AAA Sushi make sure that Siri responds with “AAA Sushi on Main St.” A lot will surely be locked down by Apple –if Joe tells his phone to “buy the new Eminem album,” nobody but iTunes is going to get that business. Will Siri search the Web for us — “tell me more about voice recognition technology,” or “find me a site to buy a new iPhone case”?
With Voice Search and Voice Actions for Android, Google will clearly be nipping at Apple’s heels — how long until AdWords adds Voice Extensions so advertisers can buy placement on voice searches? We already have data that voice searches tend to be longer than typed searches — at what point do we need to adjust our SEO strategies? At what point will someone build an audio-enabled, voice-optimized site for a visitor who is driving, or doing the dishes, or typing on another device? “Thank you for visiting www.aaasushi.com, would you like to make reservations?” What would voice recognition mean for social media? On the one hand, anything social is begging for integration with people’s actual conversions; on the other hand, I can’t quite imagine what a theoretical Facebook Voice would look like.