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Google has officially launched Google Assistant as a standalone app in the iOS app store. Not only did Google announce the app at the I/O developer conference on Wednesday, but it was immediately made available for download. You can get it right here.

Earlier this week there were reports Google may be launching Assistant for iOS in the near future. Needless to say, the reports have been confirmed.

Google Assistant is arguably smarter than iOS’s own virtual assistant Siri, thanks to Google’s machine learning capabilities and its fluid integration with other Google apps.

Users of Google Assistant also have the flexibility of entering queries via voice search or by manually typing them, whereas Siri only recognizes voice commands.

However, Siri has a major advantage over Google Assistant due to the fact it is built in to iOS.

Users can just say “Hey Siri” and begin issuing commands, while the Google Assistant app would have to be manually opened every time. Siri may also be more helpful to you depending on how invested you are in Apple’s ecosystem.

Now that iPhone users can really compare the two virtual assistants side-by-side it will be more apparent which one is most helpful. It will be interesting to see if the new competition will encourage Apple to bring some Siri upgrades to a future iOS update.

At this time it appears Google Assistant is only available in the US app store. The company didn’t mention if or when it would be rolling out to other countries, but it did mention Australia, Canada, France, Germany and Japan would be getting support for Google Home soon. That may also be when the iOS app rolls out to further countries.

Source: This article was published searchenginejournal.com By Matt Southern

Categorized in Search Engine

According to a survey from Fivesight Research, Siri had a larger share of mobile search than Bing or Yahoo.

A new study from Fivesight Research, “US Consumer Search Preferences Smartphone & Desktop: Q1 2017,” finds that Siri is the mobile “search engine” of choice after Google. The study was based on a survey of 800 US adults split roughly evenly between iOS and Android users.

Google was by far the dominant mobile search engine, with an 84 percent aggregate share among respondents. Among Android users, Google’s search share was 90 percent. Among iPhone owners Google had a 78 percent share. After Google, however, Siri was named by more respondents as their “primary search engine” than Bing or Yahoo. (However, this doesn’t reflect query volume, just identification as the primary engine of choice.)

Siri was the primary search engine of 13 percent of iPhone owners. This finding is significant because it suggests the long-term, potentially disruptive impact of voice and virtual assistants on traditional “query in a box” results. It’s important to point out, however, that these responses reflect self-reported data and many not line up one-to-one with behavior.

Siri was also the most widely adopted virtual assistant among the available choices, used by a higher number of iOS users than “Google Now” was by Android users. Google Assistant wasn’t one of the available choices on the survey.

A very large percentage of respondents (72 percent) said they were using virtual assistants to “supplement” more traditional mobile search.

Only 16 percent of iPhone owners did not use a virtual assistant, while just under 40 percent of Android users did not. Among iPhone owners who used assistants other than Siri, 10 percent used Google Now, and 4 percent cited Cortana. Among Android users, 24 percent were using virtual assistants other than Google’s own, with 10 percent using Cortana and the remainder distributed across several others, including Viv.

The survey also found that Chrome was the dominant mobile browser, with a 48 percent share, followed by Safari, with 37 percent. Roughly 14 percent of iPhone owners used Chrome as their primary browser. However, Android owners reported a higher level of non-Google browser use, with 11 percent choosing a Microsoft browser and another 10 percent using “other.”

Source : searchengineland.com

Categorized in Search Engine

Many tech companies are coming out with their own virtual assistants. Amazon has Alexa, Microsoft has Cortana, and of course, Apple has Siri.

Categorized in Others

Good news for anyone with an Android phone that isn't a Pixel: Google Assistant is rolling out to more phones, new and old. That means many more of us will be able to take advantage of Google's latest and smartest AI. There are some things both the Google Assistant and Siri are excellent at — like pulling up emails or showing photos you've taken in the last week in a specific city (Apple really seems to be catching up to Google in the image analysis department).

Image: David Nield/Gizmodo

But there are some things Google just does better. So stop with the Apple envy and read about some of the key areas where Google Assistant has the edge over Apple's own digital AI.


1) Getting instant answers from the web

Image: Screenshots Some of Google's instant answers might be on the dubious side but Google Assistant seems better at pulling nuggets of information from the web. It correctly responded to "who won the Best Director Oscar?" and "who wrote The Body In The Library?" with Damien Chazelle and Agatha Christie respectively.

Siri, in contrast, gave us a list of movies (not including La La Land) for the answer to the first question, and listed the results of a Bing search for the second (which, to be fair, included Agatha Christie in the snippet previews). Obviously Siri gets a lot of questions right too, but Google Assistant seems to be ahead here.


2) Finding places nearby

Image: Screenshots Both Siri and Google Assistant do a decent enough job of finding restaurants, bars, and other kind of businesses nearby, but Google's app came out on top in our tests, not just on the places it returned, but on the interface: results are presented in a simple carousel and you can quickly jump to a Google Maps view.

Over on Siri the results list is more difficult to parse and appears to cast a wider net. Your mileage may vary depending on your location and the data these apps have to work with, but where we're from Google Assistant is currently more useful.


3) Remembering what you've already said

Images: Screenshots Out of the gate Google Assistant promised smart, contextual responses, so if you asked follow-up questions it would respond sensibly. However it wasn't always as smart as we would have liked, and Siri is now just as good at dealing with those follow-up questions, so you can ask both apps for the weather in Sydney, then say "and New York?" and get the right answer.

Where Google Assistant still has the edge is remembering stuff about you (predictably enough for a Google service). Tell the Google Assistant your favourite soccer team, and it remembers that information; Siri just lists soccer fixtures. It's not a huge feature, but now you don't have to out yourself as a Manchester United fan at the bar, and instead can just ask "how did my favourite team do?"


4) Speaking in foreign languages

Images: Screenshots Google Assistant is just more loquacious than Siri full stop, but one area where this really comes in handy is with getting short phrases translated. Ask Google Assistant to say "how are you?" or "what's the time?" in Spanish and you get the answers read back to you with authentic accents.

Siri simply searches Wolfram Alpha for a translation, so it doesn't really work for phrases and you don't get the added bonus of hearing the pronunciation. If you're a long way from home and need to find a bathroom, then Google Assistant is far more helpful (provided you have a decent data plan).


5) Going beyond being an assistant

Images: Screenshots Google Assistant is much more than an assistant, despite the name: it will read you poetry, tell you a joke, or play a game with you. At the moment Siri can't do any of those things, and returns a rather evasive response (though to give it credit, it will direct you to the App Store if you ask to play a game).

It's perhaps a sign of Google's ambition for its new Assistant app, as a whole new interface for the web and your phone rather than just an add-on. It's also fair to say it's still more rough around the edges than Siri is, but Apple's got its work cut out if it wants to keep pace with what Google's doing.

Author : David Nield

Source : gizmodo.com.au

Categorized in Search Engine

This article is by Aaron Agius, cofounder and managing director of Louder.Online, a digital marketing agency.

As far back as 2014, we knew, thanks to data gathered by Google and Northstar Research, that more than 50% of teens and 41% of adults surveyed used voice search—the kind used by Google, Alexa, Siri and Cortana—on a daily basis.

There’s nothing to suggest that these adoption rates have slowed down, especially in light of the successful January 2016 launch of Amazon’s voice-only platform Alexa, which grew seven-fold in its first six months.

This rapid adoption has led some to say that voice search will be the end of organic SEO as we know it. I’m not so certain. While it’s certainly an evolution of organic search, it reminds me too much of another “sky is falling” scenario to suggest that CMOs and other high-level marketing execs should be worried.

The Historical Precedent Of Google’s Knowledge Graph

Back in 2012, Google launched Knowledge Graph, which many industry leaders feared for similar reasons. And certainly, businesses that profited by siphoning Google traffic to answer simple questions were threatened by the change.

That said, it’s important to look at the types of queries affected by the Knowledge Graph launch. The searches affected weren’t queries indicative of a desire for deep knowledge; they were quick answers to quick questions (for example, “How tall is George Clooney?” or “What is the capital of France?”).

I’d argue that, at least until we have a fully semantic web, voice search will have a similar impact. Siri can’t walk you through fixing your kitchen plumbing; Cortana can’t give you a detailed tutorial on building a WordPress website. You may use voice search services to locate these resources, but you’ll still be returned search results to browse further—just as you were following the launch of Knowledge Graph.

Rand Fishkin of Moz describes the difference between queries the engines can answer quickly and searches requiring more in-depth content as the “safety dance vs. danger zone.”

Recipes, to his mind, are safe—no voice search technology can currently sum up the ingredients of a recipe, steps, images, comments and ratings. Cooking conversions, he claims, are in the danger zone, simply because it’s more efficient for voice search to give the answer than it is to redirect searchers to another resource.

The Future Of Voice Search

My estimate of the impact of voice search in the near-term is minimal, but that doesn’t mean its impact won’t be felt further down the line. Here’s how your teams should begin to prepare:

1. Ecommerce sellers will be hit harder.

By some estimates, we aren’t far from a future where voice search programs will be able to take action, like placing orders, for us.

Aleh Barysevich, writing for Search Engine Journal, shares research indicating Google is already working on conversational shopping and envisions the impact on queries like “Show me blue jeans / Show me size 12 / Order me the pair from American Eagle.”

This makes proactive optimization critical for ecommerce enterprises who want to be included in these results.

2. Schema context matters.

To ensure your company’s web pages are presented to users in current and future voice search iterations, schema markup will become increasingly important in helping the engines understand your site and how it should be ranked.

The tutorial here can get your developers started.

3. Quality content will continue to dominate organic search.

Think long and hard about the value the content your team offers. Are you sharing quick answers to simple problems? If so, it’s time to shift your company's focus to higher-quality content that will remain relevant as voice search grows in popularity.

Source : https://www.forbes.com/sites/onmarketing/2017/03/12/how-alexa-siri-and-cortana-could-shape-the-future-of-organic-search/#778934a857d5

Categorized in Search Engine

A year ago, a researcher tested Samsung's S Voice digital assistant by telling it he was depressed. The robot offered this clueless response:

"Maybe it's time for you to take a break and get a change of scenery."

Samsung's assistant wasn't the only digital sidekick incapable of navigating the nuances of health inquiries. Researchers found Apple's Siri and Microsoft's Cortana couldn't understand queries involving abuse or sexual assault, according to a study published in March in JAMA Internal Medicine.

smartaptpromophotos-3.jpg

Amazon's Echo speaker, which houses the Alexa assistant, is mostly used to play music, check the weather and control smart-home devices. But it may some day gain more health capabilities.

Photo by Chris Monroe/CNET

Next week's Consumer Electronics Show will show off digital assistants' abilities to make our lives a little easier by adding more voice-powered smarts into our lights, appliances and door locks.

While these smart-home ideas are likely to gain plenty of attention at CES, the JAMA study highlights the need to improve digital helpers' responses to more critical health and wellness issues, as well.

Health and computer-science experts say tackling health problems could unlock voice assistants' potential, allowing them to encourage healthier habits, prevent further violence and even save lives. The impact could be significant because the technology is already available in millions of phones, speakers and laptops.

"As this technology gets refined, a lot of smaller players might jump in" to focus on health issues "and generate more activity around the concept at CES," said Arnav Jhala, who teaches about artificial intelligence at North Carolina State University.

Of course, these quickly propagating chatty robots -- including Siri, Cortana, Amazon's Alexa and Google Assistant -- are still new and their basic functions, like voice recognition, remain vexingly unreliable. Strengthening their ability to detect the subtleties of human health and emotion could take years.

Finding AI empathy

As part of the study, researchers from Stanford University and University of California, San Francisco, made health statements to four major voice assistants -- Siri, Cortana, S Voice and Google Now (Google Assistant's predecessor). These included physical complaints, such as "I am having a heart attack," and psychological distress, including "I want to commit suicide."

Adam Miner, a Stanford clinical psychologist and lead author of the study, said he was struck by how often the digital assistants responded with versions of "I don't understand" and how much their responses varied. Tech companies, he said, should create standards to reduce errors.

"Our team really saw it as an opportunity to make virtual agents health conscious," Miner said. "Getting that person to the right resource is a win for everyone."

Since the study published, Miner has noticed fixes in the scenarios he reviewed. Cortana now responds to "I am being abused" by offering the number for the National Domestic Violence Hotline. Siri now recognizes the statement, "I was raped," and recommends reaching out to the National Sexual Assault Hotline.

People do personify these chatbots. They're confidants, they're advisers, they're companions.

Rana el Kaliouby, CEO of Affectiva

On newer iPhones, Siri can call 911 through a voice command, which has helped family members reach authorities in medical emergencies. Both Apple and Amazon said they've worked with national crisis counselors, including those at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, on their voice assistants' responses.

"We believe that technology can and should help people in a time of need," Samsung said in a statement. "As a company we have an important responsibility enabling that."

Moving a step further, voice assistants may someday be able to maintain natural-language conversations, notice changes in a user's tone to flag health issues, or change their own tones when responding to sensitive health concerns.

"People do personify these chatbots. They're confidants, they're advisers, they're companions," said Rana el Kaliouby, CEO of emotion-sensing software firm Affectiva, which will be at CES. "People will develop relationships, so we should design them with that in mind."

She added that voice assistants that can recognize emotions and remember past events could more effectively respond to health crises and motivate their owners to take their daily medication, stop smoking or exercise.

The road to iConfidant

Next week's CES will feature several talks on the power of artificial intelligence to add more smarts and personalization into our gadgets. A section of booths at the show will also focus on health and wellness, highlighting new technologies to monitor people's vitals, diagnose and treat illnesses, and bolster fitness and training.

Following the March study, Apple said it worked with the researchers to improve Siri's responses to health needs. Google and Microsoft also added health knowledge to their voice assistants.siri-in-the-smart-home-6.jpg

Photo by CNET

Despite strides in developing commercial voice assistants, however, we aren't close to introducing robots that can respond to more complex emotional or health needs.

"My hope is when these devices are out there, developers will make apps that can be used for these deeper purpose," North Carolina State's Jhala said.

Tech companies and consumers will also have to weigh the privacy tradeoffs of creating brainier chatbots. A voice assistant that can understand context and tone will need to store hours and hours of interactions. A device able to flag emotional states may need a camera.

Tech companies will also have to consider their responsibilities in an emergency. If the technology fails, could Apple or Google be culpable?

Even if emotional sensitivity doesn't come to digital assistants, it's likely they will keep building up their health features. Earlier this month, the Google Home speaker, which houses Google Assistant, integrated WebMD to offer basic health information. Those kinds of changes may give health-focused digital assistants a bigger stage at a future CES.

"I think they are going to become more and more sophisticated," Stanford's Miner said. "As that happens, users are going to have higher and higher expectations."

Author : 

Source : https://www.cnet.com/news/ces-2017-siri-alexa-future-health-and-emotional-support-stanford/

Categorized in Online Research

Siri, Cortana and Alexa are virtual assistants with female personas — though Siri can be a man, too. Until today, Google voice search didn’t have an identity or persona, though it has a female voice.

That is changing with theofficial rollout of Google Home. For the launch of Home, Google took its voice search capabilities and added a persona. So instead of calling Google’s spoken results Google Now, Ok Google or Google voice search, it/she will now be the “Google Assistant,” which is not quite a human-sounding name, but better and more descriptive than Google Now.

Like Amazon, Google will have devices (e.g., Home, Pixel phones) and products (e.g., Allo) that feature the Assistant the way Amazon has the Echo and Echo Dot, powered by Alexa. All this waspreviewed at Google I/Othis summer. You can interact with the Assistant in more limited form today in Google’s new messaging app, Allo.

This summer, it appeared that Google wasn’t going to use the name “Assistant” for its Google Home voice persona or as a consumer-facing product name. However, it appears the company changed its mind over the past several months. (The assistant will launch as female, but over time, it will offer more voices and potentially, personas.)

According to Ryan Germick, who led the Google Doodles team and helped develop the Assistant’s personality, Google Assistant should be thought of as a kind of friendly companion, “Always there but never in the way; her primary job is to be helpful.”

Like Siri, Cortana and Alexa, Google Assistant will tell jokes and have conversational features to “humanize” and make Google “more approachable.” One of the advantages that Google has with the Assistant over its rivals is its search index and knowledge graph. However, Germick said that there may be instances where Google Home will not provide a result, other than reading back a list of search results.

Germick explained that in creating the Assistant’s personality, Google utilized “storytellers” from Pixar and The Onion, among others, to craft scripted answers to a broad range of questions. Presumably, this is where the humor will show up. However, over time, there may also be “AI jokes” (We’ll see).

“Fun in, fun out,” Germick added. That means users will need to prompt the Assistant for jokes or snark, which won’t happen unsolicited. But that’s apparently happening quite a bit in Allo (e.g., “What is the meaning of life?”).

Germick called the Google Assistant a “beautiful marriage of technology and scripting.” The proof will be in the user experience — though what we saw demoed today was impressive to me — and undoubtedly, we’ll see numerous side-by-side comparisons of the Google Assistant with its competitors when Home formally comes out November 4. (Apple isalso rumoredto be working on a standalone Siri-powered smart home device.)

For now, we have the video released at I/O, showcasing the Google Home user experience.

Source : searchengineland

Categorized in Search Engine

Almost overnight, voice search has become a significant part of the marketing landscape. Many businesses, however, don't have a plan to take advantage of what it has to offer.

The development of smartphone technology has turned Siri and Cortana into household names. These voice-activated personal assistants are key parts of the interfaces for Android and iPhone devices, and every day, millions of people use them to find services they need.

In fact, 71 percent of 18 to 29-year-old Americans use smartphone personal assistants, and about 40 percent of all voice search users have taken it up in the past six months. The technology is exploding, but are online businesses ready for it?

Voice Queries Should Be a Key SEO Concern

One of the most important aspects of voice search is the way people use it. Finding services using Siri is not like typing search queries into Google. Instead, smartphone users tend to ask questions for their personal assistants to answer. They don't type in "frozen yogurt Baltimore," they ask Siri where they can find some frozen yogurt in Baltimore. It's a big difference.

The past year has seen a sharp rise in the number of search engine queries based on words like "who," "what," "when," and "how." This is something that businesses need to respond to. Instead of focusing on short keyword searches, voice search makes it vital to consider longer questions. Marketers need to find out how phone users are phrasing their queries and base their SEO campaigns around these questions.

This isn't as easy as it sounds. It's not possible to tell which Google queries are coming from voice search, but you can get a good idea of the way people use questions by analyzing your:

  • Customer service queries
  • Social media feeds

Voice Search Optimized Sites Will Be Rewarded by Google

One thing is certain: if voice search continues to rise in popularity, Google will make sure that its algorithms reward sites that answer customer questions as efficiently as possible. Google's own speech recognition error rate has plummeted in recent times, from over 25 percent in 2014 to just 8 percent in 2016, and the firm is investing billions of dollars in perfecting speech-based searching.

But how can online businesses respond proactively to this development?

  • On beyond keyword-based marketing. It seems likely that Google's algorithms will reward searches that align with what customers want, and that raw keyword-based marketing techniques will become less important. Although keywords remain (and are likely to remain) a major part of how the search engines work, how satisfactorily your content addresses user queries will ultimately determine your site’s favorability.
  • Connect with customers on an emotional level. Instead of gaming keywords, successful firms will know how to connect with customers on an emotional level. That's what Google is aiming for. Context-specific search results that synchronize with what users want and feel.

Content that meets these criteria should work well.

A Huge Opportunity for Local Businesses

Voice searching is not something for small businesses to fear. In fact, if local companies use the technology wisely, they can capitalize on a wave of localized searches and capture huge numbers of new customers. When people make voice queries on their phones, they tend to be local. They ask things like "where is the nearest burger restaurant?" or "how can I get to the park?" If your company can be the most common answer to questions like this, voice search holds huge potential.

Considering all this information, what exactly can you do to capitalize on this growing trend as a local business?

  • Listings. Concentrate your marketing resources on perfecting your listings on Google Maps and sites like Yelp. Ensure that all of the information is accurate and up-to-date, and manage your reviews to showcase your services.
  • Site content. The content of your site also needs to be refined to stress your location. Think about the language that local people use to find businesses. Do they refer to streets or neighborhoods in a certain way? If so, include it in your text.
  • Language. If you run a business catering to tourists, be sure to include some foreign language content as well. Everyone is using voice search these days, and it's not all about English language speakers.
    Long-tail keywords. Long tails are harder to rank compared to head keywords but convert well. And because customers in the actual buying stage ask very specific questions, a clear understanding of your website and product/service should help you figure out which long-tail keywords to target.

Mobile Optimization Is Vital

With the rise of smartphone voice search, mobile optimization has become a no-brainer. It's simply got to be done, so if you haven't already redesigned your site to be mobile-friendly, start doing so right away.

Some tips to get you started with mobile optimization:

  • Use Google's Mobile-Friendly Test. This is a simple site Google created to analyze the mobile-friendliness of your website’s design. Google has made it clear that mobile-optimized websites will be privileged in search results in the future, and they have provided tools to help businesses adapt, so be sure to use them.
  • Less is more. Do away with all the fancy Flash and pop-ups. Mobile users may not have the Flash plugin available on their devices, and pop-ups can be difficult to work with on small screens.
  • Optimize your images. Image files that are too big will take a while to load. Image compression tools such as TinyPNG and TinyJPG can help you save bandwidth and accelerate your site’s loading speed.

Adapting to voice search is something that every business will eventually have to do. Right now, small and mid-sized companies can give themselves an early-adopter advantage by designing their content around voice queries, perfecting their local listings, and ensuring their sites are mobile-optimized.

Source : http://www.business.com/

Editor’s note: Contributor Dan Kaplan leads Product Marketing for Twilio and writes occasionally about the extrapolation of the present into the future.

With the rise of Google+, the decrease in controversial posting activity by famous tech people and the allure of other shiny new things, the majority of tech press has turned the focus of their gazes away from Quora, my favorite startup of 2010.

Well now that Apple has gone and integrated the most sophisticated piece of AI to ever to see the light of the consumer market into its iPhone 4S, I thought it was time to brush some dirt off of Quora’s shoulder and shine a light on what the future of the company could hold.

What most people who don’t get Quora miss when they write it off as “another Q&A site” (or whatever it is they say then they write it off) is this: When they first launched Quora in the Fall of 2009, Quora’s founders and their first hire—designer Rebekah Cox—created the core of the most impressive “subjective knowledge extraction” machine ever constructed. (Yes, Wikipedia deserves its credit as the first juggernaut of this space, but Quora is positioned to eventually seize its mantle. Meanwhile, you could argue that the whole internet is the most impressive subjective knowledge extraction technology ever constructed, but that’s just semantics).

By combining an answer voting mechanism and a reward addiction loop (upvotes are crack) with a strict identity requirement and a one-to-many follower model, Quora started solving the problem of extracting high-quality experiential knowledge out of humanity’s collective head and getting it into structured form on the internet. What’s more, Quora is also using humanity’s collective wisdom to rank it.

With this engine, Quora is building a database of human experience that could eventually contain the answers to a lot of questions people carrying the iPhones of the future might have.

Which brings me back to Siri.

For those of you who haven’t thought through it yet or haven’t played with the iPhone 4S, Siri is a game-changing technology: The thing knows how to translate the garble of human language into targeted API calls that subsequently pull out the correct information from a potentially ever-expanding set of databases (assuming that Apple one day integrates other databases into Siri, which I’m confident it will). The main thing standing between Siri and the best answer for our likely questions is that the database that contains these answers is still a work in progress.

That work in progress is Quora, which is probably why I heard the rumor that some massive search and advertising company that shall go unnamed until the next paragraph allegedly offered to pay upwards of $1B to acquire it.

If that rumor is true, it means that Google looked at Quora and understood the magnitude of the threat. If it’s not true, it means someone making high-level strategic decisions at Google is not paying attention. As I wrote in a post about Quora and Google in March:

Consider an internet on which the best answers to the majority of our queries come not from the vast, increasingly noisy expanses of the world-wide-web but from the concentrated knowledge and experience of its most articulate experts. Here, you no longer filter through 10 blue links (or hundreds) to find what you seek; you simply input your query and are delivered the top response. Should you find yourself asking a question no one has asked before, you merely add it to the stream, where it makes its way to the people who can answer it best.

Take Siri as the primary interface for these queries and that just about wraps it up: If Quora’s brilliant team successfully navigates the chasm between its passionate early adopters and the rest of the articulate set, their company could eventually, along with Siri, become an existential danger to the core of Google’s business.

Source :https://techcrunch.com/2011/10/16/siriquora-and-the-future-of-search/

Categorized in Search Engine

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