5 Insights of voice technologies

Scott Huffman, Google Assistant VP of Engineering, wrote an article outlining the 5 insights of voice technology they have gathered since launching Google Assistant 2 years ago.

Here they are, for you today, commented by me.

Number 1. Voice is about action. Assistant queries are 40 times more likely to be action-oriented than Search, with people asking for things like “send a text message,” “turn off the lights,” or “turn on airplane mode.”

As Ursule LeGuin put its beautifully: When you speak a word to a listener, the speaking is an act.

And this is what actually makes this technology unique: it allows to complete a task in a natural way.

Number 2 People expect conversations. For voice assistants, according to Huffman, people start querying in a command like way, but expectations go up pretty quickly, they expect conversations. On average, Assistant queries are 200 times more conversational than Search. Simple commands can take thousands forms. For example, people ask the Google Assistant to set an alarm in more than 5,000 different ways, which means that they have to build the Assistant to understand this conversational complexity.  

Number 3 Screen changes everything. Nearly half of interactions with Assistant today include both voice and touch input. Screens bring a completely new canvas for conversational AI, where we can bring together voice and touch in an intelligent way.

Number 4 Daily routines matter. Where and how people use the Assistant varies throughout the day, but the consistency of the experience should stay the same. As I have said before, in voice applications not content, but context is king. As you look at the patterns of the daily routines of users in Google Assistant, their activities varies depending on the time of the day.

Number 5 Voice is universal. Because the entry point for voice is so low, it can be used by people across devices, languages and geographies. According to Huffman they have seen that Google Assistant users defy the early adopter stereotype: there’s a huge uptick in seniors and families, and women are the fastest growing user segment for the Assistant.


Voice space is new and we are still learning what works. However, the clear case for jobs done, for everyone of the technology is encouraging.

Our Twitter handle is voicefirstlabs and we are voicefirstweekly in Instagram, shut us a comment there to let me know what you think or anything else really, I love to interact about this space. My name is Mari, I’m will talk to you tomorrow.

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The ultimate resource in the voice space. Conversational interfaces, voice interfaces, smart speakers and smart assistants, voice strategy, audio branding.

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