For years, our only option for making an online search was through our fingertips. While most searches still occur that way (despite the frustration this can cause on smaller mobile screens), search is finally changing thanks to two added dimensions:
Over 20% of searches conducted on Google are now done by voice. This number is destined to increase exponentially as the virtual assistant market — think not only Google, but Alexa, Siri, etc. — heats up. This technology is collectively re-training people to search using their voices over their fingers (whether we are at home or not).
This year, Google announced Google Lens, a technology that allows users to take a photo of something on their phone and filter it through visual recognition software that identifies and shares information on it. Google joins Pinterest, Amazon, eBay, and a growing number of retail brands that offer some flavor of visual search.
According to Pinterest, the company’s user base of 200 million people conduct an average of three visual searches a day.
Just as most companies now work to optimize their content for typed search queries, they will increasingly need to think about the other two dimensions of search as well.
Visual search, while growing, can be a challenge because certain types of brands will always lend themselves better to visual search than others — think a retailer with a big catalog of items vs. a health system. Still, how about a visual search function that can identify skin conditions and offer you up nearby dermatologists?
On the voice search front, many brands are now developing “skills” for Echo — Amazon’s term for voice-enabled apps that perform different tasks for its virtual home assistant. In fact, Amazon’s Alexa now has over 15,000 such skills, with more coming every day. Can your brand add a skill?