Voice search is the next big frontier in consumer behavior, business visibility, and technological evolution. Voice-based technology, based on the simple premise of asking questions out loud, is poised to create a major disruption in the digital industry.

But it's not just the future that will evolve.

Voice search is changing the landscape of consumer search right now. Homeowners are shouting to Siri about the location of the nearest Home Depot while manically mopping up after a burst pipe. Driver's stuck in traffic are asking Alexa for prices on the nearest relaxing beach vacation. Cortana stands ready to pull up both your dinner recipe and your favorite radio station while coordinating that expected cook time before the next work deadline.

Voice assistance is already everywhere, and this technology is set to only expand from here on out.

1. Why should my business care about voice search?

Your business should care about voice search because that is how your customers will find you. Voice control is becoming a key interface with smart home technology—and it's being integrated into smart home technology by Microsoft, Google, Samsung, and Apple to keep up with the trend begun by the Amazon Echo in 2014.

The future of search is about being both prevalent and personal. There will be an estimated 25 billion internet-connected devices by 2020, and users will expect a seamless experience as they move from device to device. And they will expect the same level of accuracy both for spoken and for typed inquiries.

Today, none of the digital assistants (Siri, Cortana, Google Assistant, and Alexa) has paid spoken advertisements, but the day will come. Consumers will expect any ads that appear or are spoken in response to their search to be directly relevant—i.e., understand the context behind the search—and will easily get frustrated with content that doesn't match their interests and preferences.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
image of Christi Olson

Christi Olson is head of evangelism at Bing/Microsoft.

LinkedIn: Christi Olson

Twitter: @ ChristiJOlson