Mobile Apps and Voice

Panelists at SMX East discussed the future of search. In reading about the three themes, keep in mind that future is never longer than a year. They are mobile apps and voice – these affect everyone, and attributio – which is a matter of attributing sale of a product to a source or agent.

Looking Ahead: The New Search Landscape, Casie Gilette, Search Engine Land (Oct 1)

Mobile apps, attribution and voice search were the main themes, but of course, the topic of where Yahoo and Bing fit in was brought up. The biggest takeaway was the split of Yahoo/Bing (i.e., Gemini) and how that may end up hurting each company in the long run.

Using a digital assistant

Basic premise to a “digital assistant” is that it must know a lot about you. Danny Sullivan examines the three leaders from Google, Microsoft, and Apple in How Google Now, Siri & Cortana Predict What You Want [Search Engine Land Sept 18]

Google, Apple and Microsoft all have agents that want to be your personal assistant. But how well Google Now, Apple’s Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana can predict your needs depends on how much you want to share, how wedded to particular platforms you want to be and, in some cases, how much you actively want to help make those predictions happen.

Google voice search recordings

Google stores your voice searches on its servers – claims this helps Google’s work in voice recognition. If you’d like to see what has been saved so far, delete any of your voice searches, or stop the recording entirely, watch this how-to video from CNet on how to change the settings in your Google account – Stop Google from tracking your voice: How To Video



Search turns mobile

The smartphone is changing people’s search practices and Google, in the face of a multitude of apps, is fighting to stay King of Search. Leading the charge is Amit Singhal, Google’s search chief.

Reinventing Google for a Mobile World, Conor Dougherty, New York Times (July 9)

“My job is not to just look at the trend today. My job is to look at what’s beyond the horizon,” Mr. Singhal said in the interview. “And beyond the horizon, there is so much more people can do on their devices that is not possible today.”

Context Pervades the Smartphone

Personalizing results is all about context – where you are, what you looked at before, and probably several other factors, which Google NOW is determined to identify. This is especially true for activity on the smartphone. And it’s not just Google – it’s in apps, in the fitbit you wear, Facebook, everything – as you will read in this article.

The Future Of Search Engines Is Context, Aaron Friedman, Search Engine Land (April 6)

Rove with TripAdvisor

TripAdvisor users will have new tools for keeping a travel journal through TripAdvisor’s acquisition of ZeTrip and the Rove app.

TripAdvisor Buys ZeTrip And Its Personal Travel Journal App Rove, Ingrid Lunden, TechCrunch (Feb 2)

While TripAdvisor is not being very specific about how it might use Rove’s technology, the acquisition comes at an interesting time in mobile location-based services. Facebook last week launched a new feature for app users called “Place Tips”, which pushes friends’ tips and insights about locations that you are visiting. It’s a direct competitor to Yelp and Foursquare/Swarm, and comes at the same time that the latter has tapped into passive services itself, picking up users’ location information and pushing suggestions to you without them having to make any effort.

The Growing Importance of Mobile

Google gives sites that are mobile friendly a ranking boost in search results.

Google Is Experimenting With Special Ranking For Mobile-Friendly Sites, Danny Sullivan, Search Engine Land (Nov 18)

Google already penalizes sites that provide a bad experience to mobile searchers. Now the company has confirmed that it’s testing with what seems like a boost for those providing a great experience.

This is good, but it is also part of the trend that makes mobile access to the web more important than desktop. Wall Street Journal has noted that The Web Is Dying; Apps Are Killing It by Phil Foster (Nov 17)

Mountains of data tell us that, in aggregate, we are spending time in apps that we once spent surfing the Web. We’re in love with apps, and they’ve taken over. On phones, 86% of our time is spent in apps, and just 14% is spent on the Web, according to mobile-analytics company Flurry.