In mid-May, Google announced that New Google Search Allows You To Speak To Google … And It Speaks Back at the company’s annual I/O developers conference.
Google Now, the mobile application for searching by voice command, is coming to desktop and is getting a big makeover. With the new update, you’ll be able to speak directly to your smartphone or computer using a huge variety of commands, and Google will understand and respond.
As Google explains, you can now search Google by saying your search term, instead of typing it. This could be a convenient way to search if you speak faster than you type or if you’re not sure how to spell your search term.
The implications of that announcement are far-reaching as we will explain.
The World Is Going Mobile
This new technology is being rolled out at a time when a large and growing proportion of Internet users are switching to mobile devices. For a growing portion that means switching away from their desktop PC to a tablet. In 2011, in the US more smart phones were sold than PCs even though this includes tablets such as iPad. Many will find that their smart phones can handle whatever they wish to do on the Web.
Mobile Search Is Often Local Search
As Emarketer reminds us, mobile internet users reach for their devices to route their trip home, read reviews of local restaurants and find the location of a nearby business. And as more consumers convert to smartphones and tablets, the number of local searches is rising fast.
At the same time, they may often be connecting with their friends in social media such as Facebook, Twitter or Foursquare. In addition to the traditional social media, new ways of connecting with your friends are developing all the time. Another interesting one is Waze which is being acquired by Google. This navigation software includes information from others in your local area as they encounter traffic problems or other hazards.
Keyboards Don’t Work On Mobile Devices
When you are working on your mobile device, you have the dilemma of how to input information into whatever software you may be using. On a smartphone, the visual keyboard presents a major challenge to those with large fingers. It is also impossible of course to use all your touch typing skills on such a visual keyboard. Clearly another input method is essential even on a tablet.
Voice Technology Is The Answer
Phones are devised to handle voice communications so it would seem a no-brainer to use this voice technology to handle as much input as possible. It was only a matter of time before Google search would use voice inputs for mobile devices particularly on smart phones. Provided the search experience is satisfactory, it would seem likely that there would be massive consumer acceptance of this way of handling search. However Google makes certain assumptions about a search done on a smartphone which provides improved marketing opportunities, particularly for small and midsize businesses.
Increasingly when consumers are looking for local suppliers they will be using search on their smartphone and may possibly use one of the social media such as Facebook. In this situation, small businesses with a clearly defined local address may well appear at the top of the list in such a search. Big national brands lose out in such local search results.
Opportunities for the SMB
Given this developing trend, SMBs should maximize their visibility in such local searches. To achieve this, they should focus on the following:
- Make sure that your company NAP (Name, Address, Phone) is clear and always set out in the same way. The company name should be one which is memorable and which is not easily confused with others when someone speaks on the cell phone.
- Make sure that your company location is correctly identified in Google Places. Google provides some good advice on how to strengthen your Google Places page.
- Create a company page in social media such as Facebook and Google Plus
- Register your company in local online directories. Lists are available of these, for example in the Local SEO Guide.
- Where possible get customer reviews displayed on your Google Places page
This trend for local searches to be done increasingly on smart phones is a real opportunity for companies with a strong local presence. You should make sure that it works for you and not for your competitors.
Author Bio: Barry Welford writes for Next Day Flyers and is a frequent blogger on business performance, Internet Marketing and social media marketing. You can find more on him via his Google Plus Profile
Featured image courtesy Annie Mole.