Adobe study sheds positive light on voice search

Adobe study sheds positive light on voice search

A new study conducted by Adobe has shown that there is a positive outlook on voice search and virtual assistants, with 48% of consumers stating that they use voice assistants for their general web searches.

A couple of years ago, there were plenty of predictions for the future of voice search, including one that stated that half of all searches would be conducted through voices alone by 2020. While this particular one has proved to be some way off the mark, this and similar statistics still pop up every now and then. However, Adobe’s latest study does indicate that there is a growing market for voice search.

Adobe’s study surveyed around a thousand American adults and found that the majority of this activity was conducted on smartphones. While many surveys don’t distinguish between smartphones (Siri) and smart speakers (such as Alexa and Google Home), Adobe’s shows that 85% of respondents said they had used voice technology on their phones, with 39% saying they used smart speakers.

In terms of the frequency of use, just under half (44%) said they used voice technology on a daily basis. Furthermore, those that had said they used voice technology generally expressed satisfaction with their voice assistants, with a whopping 79% agreeing that voice technology improves the quality of life, and 92% agreed that it saved them time.

While users reported that they were happy with their voice assistants, they were still a bit wary of the accuracy, with respondents saying that the voice recognition software accurately responded to a command or question less than three quarters of the time (69%). Accuracy and lack of comprehension was also listed as the top complaint from users, with 83% of users giving this reason. This was followed by privacy concerns (81%).

The study also revealed what people were asking their voice assistants to search for. With the most common being to give directions while driving (52%), making a phone call (51%), sending text messages (50%), checking the weather (49%), playing music (49%) and general web searches (48%).

In terms of moving in to the future, 94% of survey participants wanted to see voice technology available on a wider range of devices, 44% wanted a touchscreen integrated onto their voice speakers and 37% wanted a more human-sounding voice. When asked separately about human-like features, only 51% said that it should incorporate a range of human qualities, such as humour, with 49% stating that it didn’t need human attributes.

As the world of search continues to move in new directions, it would seem that the best of voice search is certainly yet to come, but there are currently two significant hurdles still in the way in the form of accuracy/comprehension and privacy. Should innovators find a way to combat this with the technology available, then perhaps those ambitious statistics surrounding voice search usage could become closer to reality in a decade’s time.

Operations Manager at Engage Web
Drawing from a broad pool of experience that ranges from university studies in English Language to his work as a medical receptionist in a busy GP practice, Alan fits right at home as Engage Web’s Operations Manager.
Alan Littler

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