Voice search is happening. And Google is under threat. Not short term threat but long term threat.
There’s a new search provider in town and it’s name is Alexa.
Look at it this way, voice search is rising. And Google is making sure that it’s capturing as much of this market as it can. That’s why it’s putting google assistant behind the voice search button in Chrome.
For a company that makes most of its money from advertising on search engine results pages, making sure that it’s there to capture voice searches is a huge priority for Google.
But. Amazon is the market leader in smart speaker sales.
And one of the top use cases for smart speakers is asking questions.
And although Rand Fishkin professed a while back that voice search isn’t replacing typed search, but instead voice search is being used in times where we don’t have access to our hands. Times when we’re driving, cooking, walking and so on. Dr Pete, also of moz, told us the same when he featured on VUX World podcast last year.
There’s no doubt that these new contexts and availability of voice assistants are contributing to the increase in overall voice search, but that’s not the whole story.
Last night, me and my wife watched the very first episode of Benidorm. We wanted to know when it first aired. Instead of pulling out our phones, I asked Alexa. And it told me.
In that case, a screen-based, typed search was replaced by a voice search. But it wasn’t just the method of search that was replaced. It was the search provider.
Google lost out on a search to Bing, which Amazon uses for its searches. Or it lost out to Amazon’s knowledge graph.
Now, one search on a Friday night is no big deal. But Amazon has over 200m smart speakers and growing. Alexa is appearing in more and more devices and usage is growing too.
If everyone that has a smart speaker starts replacing their typed searches with voice search through Alexa, over time, Google could be in trouble.
That’s one of the reasons why I think Google is investing so heavily in Google Assistant. Not the only reason, but one of them. I forecasted last week that Google Assistant will replace Google Search entirely within 5 years.
On the one hand, yes, moving to a more ‘jobs to be done’, AI-centric organisation is a good move for Google, fuelled by the ambition to grow and serve people better.
But there’s something in the back of my mind that tells me that part of their efforts is fuelled by the fear of being displaced by Amazon and Bing.
This is one of the reasons why you should double down on your SEO efforts with Bing.
What do you think?