21 Jul

Mobile & Voice Search: Transforming User Behavior & Business – Part 2

Mobile & Voice Search: Transforming User Behavior & Business - Part 2

Importance of Voice Search

Voice search, also called voice-enabled search, allows the user to use a voice command to search the Internet or a portable device. Currently, voice search is commonly used in (in a narrow sense) “directory assistance”, or local search. Examples include Google 411, Tellme directory assistance and Yellowpages.com’s 1-800-YellowPages.

In a broader definition, voice search includes open-domain keyword query on any information on the Internet, for example in Google Voice Search. Given that voice-based systems are interactive, such systems are also called open-domain question answering systems.

Voice search is often interactive, involving several rounds of interaction that allows a system to ask for clarification. Voice search is a type of dialog system. Thanks to the success of Siri and Google Now, voice search has grown into its own and has captured the popular imagination.

Voice Search is Vital

Understanding mobile user intent also impacts the types of keyword phrases an SEO strategy should incorporate. In 2014, it will no longer be enough to simply combine keywords with a location. Keywords will have to be considered in context as more mobile users utilize voice search and ask search engines specific questions.

For example, someone performing a voice search for a local dentist may ask their smartphone, “where is the nearest dentist?” as opposed to typing “dentist + location.” Since these search results are determined in large part based on the mobile user’s location, an SEO strategy that promotes the dental office location and incorporates conversational search terms within its content, may have an edge over competing for dental offices in the same area.

The Google Contribution

Google Voice Search or Search by Voice is a Google product that allows users to use Google Search by speaking on a mobile phone or computer, i.e. have the device search for data upon entering information on what to search for the device by speaking.

Initially named as a distinct feature was Voice Action which allows one to give speech commands to an Android phone. Once only available for the U.S. English locale – commands were later recognizable and replied to in American, British, and Indian English, French, Italian, German, and Spanish.

In Android 4.1+ (Jelly Bean), it was merged with Google Now. In August 2014, a new feature was added to Google Voice Search, allowing users to choose up to five languages and the app will automatically understand the spoken language.

Google Mobile App with voice search

The Google Mobile app for Blackberry and Nokia (Symbian) mobiles allows users to search Google by voice at the touch of a button by speaking their queries. Google also introduced voice search to all “Google Experience” Android phones with the 1.1 platform update, which includes the functionality on board the built-in Google Search widget.

In November 2008, Google added voice search to Google Mobile App on iPhone. With a later update, Google announced Voice Search for iPod touch. It requires a third party microphone. On August 5, 2009, T-Mobile launched the MyTouch 3G with Google, which features one-touch Google Voice Search.


  • 60% of mobile users expect a website to load in less than three seconds
  • 57% of users say that they won’t recommend a business with a poor mobile experience
  • 55% of consumers using mobile to research want to purchase within an hour
  • 46% users say they are unlikely to return to a website that is not mobile-friendly
  • 45% of users between 18 and 29 use mobile search daily
  • 40% have turned to a competitor’s site after a poor mobile experience

Burgeoning M-Commerce Landscape

Amazon has invested huge monies in promoting and expanding their mobile e-commerce offers, as they have understood the “cycle snowballs” effect of marketing, which states that once mobile customers are enamored by a brand, they display a strong tendency to return time and again to savor the experience of being a part of it.

M-Commerce sites reveal that addressing important issues such the need to combat mobile fraud is on top of their agenda. Companies not only hire the best talent to create attractive UI but also invest in developers who are security experts and can help detect hidden vulnerabilities in the mobile application. In fact, recent market reports show that the app mistrust figures hover at an alarming 49%.

Bear in mind that even the much-vaunted ‘device fingerprinting’ technology has its own set of issues; for example, this security system generates false positives. To add to the ever-growing list of concerns, surveys point out that due to certain high-profile data leakages in the recent past, users are progressively wary of sharing their personal information with apps, such that they can be identified or traced, online.

Aware of certain limitations in using mobile as a sales platform, M-Commerce providers are therefore running back to the drawing board to address core security issues on a war-footing in an effort to retain and attract customers.

Systems such as ‘Apple Pay’ have forced M-Commerce providers to sit up and take notice of the effectiveness of mobile wallet services. This will, in the long run, encourage more players to enter the arena with a host of e-wallet services that will ensure online payments security.

A couple of decades ago, placing a print advertisement in a prominent newspaper would do the trick. Customers would pour in by the hundreds based a single catchy ad or a memorable campaign conducted through traditional marketing methods. But this is no longer possible. Given the fact that there are dozens and dozens of competitors who offer the very same service, companies can no longer afford to be complacent. This aspect has made the attraction and retention of new customers a challenging prospect.


A report by the well-known research firm eMarketer states that by 2017 purchases in excess of $1 Trillion are expected to be made using mobile devices. It has also been forecast that by 2018, mobile sales will account for 27% of all online sales in the US and nearly half of all web sales worldwide.

It is staggering statistics like these that have enthused M-Commerce companies to leave no stone unturned in their bid to offer the best services and mobile user experience to their customers.

Personalizing the entire mobile shopping experience is another sure fire way of getting customers hooked on to your products, offerings, and services. For example, sending out birthday and anniversary wishes endears your brand to the customer and provides great recall value as well. Major food chains regularly use targeted mobile customer loyalty apps to leverage their brand value and identity, especially among the younger generation.