It’s safe to say that one of the major highlights of Google I/O was Google Assitant. Sundar Pichai’s spoke at length about Assistant’s shift from mobile-first to AI-first. Now, if you want to know just what that means, read on.
What is Google Assistant?
Google Assistant is Google’s contestant to compete with Apple’s Siri, Windows’ Cortana and Amazon’s Alexa in the battle for the most used Voice Search Assistant. It is a voice-based digital assistant that can perform actions on your phone and the internet based on your command via voice input.
Devices Compatible with Google Assistant
Google Home, Pixel phone, Android 6.0+ devices (i.e those released from February 2017) can all use Google Assistant.
What Can Google Assistant Do?
Google Assistant, at the stage it’s in right now, can do anything from reserving a table at a restaurant to booking a salon appointment. Here are some of the other things Google Assistant can do for you.
- Tell you the weather
- Book movie tickets
- Play music
- Even give you motivational quotes to keep you calm and focused!
What Makes Google Assistant so Awesome?
1. The Voice Benefit
Not only does the Google Assistant do everything you ask it to, it also has the answers to all your questions (courtesy the internet of course). It responds to all your commands with appropriate and cordial responses and always double checks before actually completing the task. What could possibly make it better?
The latest update also allows you to pick the voice in which the Assistant responds to you as well! You can do all this and more in the ‘Preferences’ section from Settings. It’s been said that later this year six new voices will be added to the existing ones, including that of singer John Legend.
2. The Duplex Technology Benefit
Google Assistant uses a combination of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Natural Language Processing (NLP), and Machine Learning to understand or act according to your commands. With Google’s Duplex technology, Google Assistant is now eerily lifelike in the sense that it can be quite difficult to know whether you are talking to a bot or a human. It even inserts “mmhmms” and “ohs” in the right places!
It also works with all accents and can be used in a variety of languages. It is important because it is the first step for Google’s future actions. Especially, considering that its AI-first strategy is most likely to be the core technology for all its future products.
3. The Continued Conversation Benefit
Working with the new and improved Google Assistant can be summed up in one sentence:
“The more you talk to it, the more it understands you.”
Continued Conversation means you don’t have to say “Hey Google” or “Ok Google” every time you wish to use Google Assistant. The more you use it, the better it gets at understanding whether you are talking to it or someone else in the same room as you.
4. The Multiple Commands Benefit
One of the major reasons that set Google Assistant apart from the rest of the voice assistants is that it literally owns the power of Google. For this very reason, it can handle a wider array of questions than its counterparts. It will either directly tell you the answer or cite it from a website. It can also complete multiple actions simultaneously or one after the other.
Voice search is growing in popularity. People prefer to go hands-free and multi-task and a voice assistant would help you do just that.
- – 60 percent of Smartphone users who used voice search just started using it in 2015, and now as many as 20 – 25% of search queries are performed via voice.
- – 41% users say using their voice-activated speaker is like talking to a friend or another person.” (via Think with Google)
- – 1 in 5 online adults has used voice search on their mobile in the last month. (via Global Web Index)25% of 16-24-year-olds use voice searches on mobile. (via Global Web Index)
- – 40% of adults now use voice search once per day according to Location World.
Predictions for Google Assistant
1. Google Assistant will become more popular than Siri
According to Adweek, Google Assitant attracted most of the attention at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2018, beating rivals like Siri, Alexa and Cortana. Since Google users will be able to access Assitant across all their devices and also use other Google services in conjunction, it wouldn’t be far-fetched to assume that the voice assistant already enjoys a certain advantage.
2. Jobs like assistants and secretaries will become less important
This is bad news for anyone who was aspiring to become Ryan Gosling’s assistant. Jobs like assistant and secretaries are soon going to be a thing of the past. If your phone can make calls, book appointments, set reminders, and even talk to you when you’re bored, why would you need to hire a person to do these things? Relax, AI’s got your back!
3. Voice advertisements will become the norm
There will soon be a shift to voice advertisements. It’s best to get ready for this transition beforehand. A great way to be a brand that users don’t block on their voice assistant is to become one that they already know and connect with. Find podcasts that your brand identifies with and place your advertisements there to get started.
How to Optimize for Voice Search?
Put Mobile First
Research has found a majority of voice search queries happen on mobile devices, particularly when users are driving. We can’t stress the importance of mobile optimisation enough.
Get Listed in Local Directories
One of the most effective ways to get featured in local search results is directory listing. In India, directories like JustDial and Sulekha could help attract a sizeable number of new customers with high commercial intent.
Target Position Zero (Use what, how to, how)
Ah! Position zero sounds like Ground Zero in a battlefield, doesn’t it? Well, that’s how important it is too! Position zero is the snippet box that appears when you ask a question on Google. Your website needs to have content that answers questions related to what you offer, so Google can easily pull information to answer specific questions asked by users. Answers to ‘what is’, ‘how to’ and ‘how’ can help get you to Position Zero.
Add an FAQ Page
An FAQ page is intended to answer all the possible questions your customers or potential customers may have regarding your product or service. So instead of redirecting to a website like yours that ranks better, Google will redirect to your FAQ page where you answer basic questions related to your industry or company.
Use Simple Language
Since people are getting more comfortable with Google, it’s starting to show in the way they search. One factor that has made “Googling” second nature to most of us is the search engine’s impeccable geo-specificity. Using a more conversational and casual tone in your content can help people find your site more easily.
Pick a Brand Name that’s Easy to Say
Your brand names need to be easy to pronounce. Period. Here’s why. When Google is unable to directly answer a question you ask, it cites the website it is picking up the answer from.
For example, if you ask Google “What is a Content Management System?”, it could either directly give you an answer or say “ According to Crafting Genius – A content management system (CMS) is an online application that provides you with the tools to design and develop your very own website.”
So if your website name is difficult to pronounce the Assistant might decide to pick a different reference website.
This is Just the Beginning!
With it’s shift to AI-first, Google is getting a headstart on AI-supported web technology. The wide range actions Assistant can handle makes it impossible to not be fascinated by it. As predicted by several industry experts and thought leaders voice-enabled devices and technology will slowly but surely change the nature of online user behaviour.
In the meanwhile, you could try using Assitant. Here’s a suggestion – ask her (or him, if you’ve already customised your settings) what she thinks of Siri! We promise it’ll be fun!