Writing, or typing, may soon be a thing of the past. And it’s all thanks to robots.
Mary Meeker is a legend – an analyst at consultants KPCB, she is famous for her annual State of the Internet report that looks at trends and themes and where it’s all going.
While this year’s report was a little less transparent – it was the first time it had sponsored sections – it didn’t disappoint. Meeker gathers and assimilates data and produces charts that show you what is going to happen. It’s the kind of stuff you feel in your bones. You know she’s right.
Speaking of enunciating, twenty-three slides of her report were devoted to voice search and what she refers to as the ‘explosive growth’ of voice search.
Typing, it would seem, is on the way out.
Google is not a search engine
If you were ever lucky enough to get to listen to Ronan Harris of Google speak about the fourth industrial revolution that is taking place right now, you’d have changed your perspective about what Google is. He said:
“Google is not a search engine; it’s a machine learning engine that uses our searches to learn more and feed itself.”
Google is getting better at spelling
Found yourself having to use Google Translate lately? Notice a dramatic improvement in the quality of results? This is down to the exciting news that Google’s word accuracy has exceeded 95%. This means that Google’s spelling and understanding of words are probably better than your average Millennial.
Our little robot friends
Siri, Alexa, and Cortana – the mobile phone assistants are driving a lot of us to use voice for search.
Increasingly I find myself using voice search and voice typing more often than typing. Situations where I use voice over type include:
● When my hands are tied up – for example, in the car.
● When I’m using my new mobile – it has voice keyboard as a setting so that I can voice my text replies, quickly and effortlessly. All I have to do is drop in an emoji at the end.
● If I have a lot to say and it would take ages to type it – for example, our family WhatsApp. And, when I’m writing these posts for ThinkBusiness.
Why would you type an article when you can use Google to type it for you?
How to be more efficient at writing blogs
Here’s a top tip – use Google voice typing. You can dictate your blog posts and articles using a setting in Google Docs, without having to install any additional software. The first time it’ll ask you to confirm that you wish to try it. After that, it’s accessible through Tools >> Voice Typing.
Click to switch it on. Talk. And marvel as your words appear on the screen of your PC.
However, what I find a little bit annoying is that the dictated text comes out without punctuation. When I say “comma” or “full stop” it types those words. But then I worked out that it understands some American grammar terms. It accepts ‘period’, not ‘full stop’. And if you speak conversationally – i.e., don’t pause after a comma, it will come out okay, as you can see right now. (I’m using Google voice type for this article).
Google voice type doesn’t like swear words, however. Here’s what it does: ‘Total f*****’, or ‘F******’.
It lets you get away with soft swear words like ‘damn’.
Minor gripes aside, Google voice typing is an excellent fit for purpose tool for busy marketers.
Once you get over learning how to speak in American punctuation, it works. I find it saves me heaps of time and has made me extremely productive about getting out blog posts, articles, and responses to questions.
Plus, there is a particular type of freedom from being able to express yourself verbally. There is less of the self-conscious correcting as we write that most of us will be very familiar with, and the results are better: more well-crafted blog posts that are thought through and not typed.
What do you think?
Have you tried to use Google voice typing? Are you using voice search? What have been your experiences with it? And how, as marketers, can we prepare ourselves to rank more for voice searches?
The big stat currently bandied about is that by 2020, 50% of all searches will be by voice. (ComScore)
How does voice search differ to type?
● When we type to search, we tend to be more specific. For example “Best Mozzarella salad Dublin”.
● When we speak, we are more conversational and would ask for “show me the best place for a mozzarella salad in Dublin”.
How to adapt your web copy to be voice search friendly?
1. Continue to write like a human. Write in a conversational way that is more likely to be picked up by an actual person.
2. Plan your website content as a series of answers to questions.
3. Consider using structured data markup (schema markup) in the back end of your website.
Like Mary Meeker, I’m a veteran of the Internet. I’ve been crafting strategies and creating content since it all began. There have been several notable themes over time: the move to mobile, the rise of video, and now I think we are starting to see (or hear?) the rise of voice search and action.
I’ve got a popular newsletter that goes out monthly, is still in the written word, but as you all know, it’s mostly dictated. If you are interested in marketing and all things social, you might want to join us.
Maryrose Lyons, Brightspark Consulting. Social media speaker. Trainer. Thinker.