At its Inside Search event yesterday, Google unveiled Voice Search. Within a few weeks, any user using the Chrome browser will be able to conduct a search from Google’s home page simply by speaking to their computer.
Just click the microphone button, speak your request and off you go.
If you’ve used Google’s apps on either an Android or iPhone, you know how remarkably accurate Google’s voice recognition technology is. Apple, through its purchase of Siri last year, is rumored to be building something similar into iOS5, based on slightly different technology.
Google is betting that our growing familiarity with speech-based searches on mobile platforms will translate to increased demand on the desktop.
As cool as this is however, it seems more suited for searches conducted at homethan in the office (Imagine rows of cubicle workers all yelling at their computers to initiate a query, for example.)
This makes it a natural for real estate search.
Attempts at natural language search in real estate have been tentative thus far. MRIS’ Homesdatabase was an early pioneer in this regard. But voice may take us further.
Whereas typing “colonial with pool” might feel clunky, simply speaking “I’m looking for a 4 bedroom colonial in Annapolis with a pool” feels more natural and gets you to where you want to be.
New search paradigms
Voice search is just one more example of where mobile platforms – Android in this case – are leading the desktop and the browser.
Just like Realtor.com’s way-cool Sketch a Search feature was made possible by multi-touch devices, voice search is made possible through devices that can now hear what we are saying.
All this serves to shift the way we find property, to kick down the barriers to entry and make it much easier to get to the results we’re looking for. Drop-down fields and radio buttons are going to look antiquated in no time at all.
So let’s get talking!
[Disclosure: MRIS and Move, Inc are 1000watt Consulting clients]