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Voice search - what you need to know

Voice search - what you need to know

Voice search - what you need to know

Voice search is the latest trend for search engines and it could revolutionise the way that we browse the Internet. It all started with Siri on Apple iPhones, followed by Amazon’s Alexa, and now the Google Voice Search app is set to take centre stage. Here’s everything you need to know about voice search:

What is voice search?

Voice search, which launched more than 15 years ago, is a function available on devices such as computers, tablets and smartphones. It’s a unique speech recognition technology that allows users to perform Internet searches through voice command. It offers easy, hands-free access to the web without using the keypad.

What is Google voice search?

It comes as no surprise that Google is leading the way with voice search technology. Whilst Bing and Yahoo both have voice search capabilities, Google is still by far the best and most used search engine. To use Google Voice Search for PC, ensure you have a microphone connected to your device (some computers have built-in microphones and others require mics to be plugged in) and click on the microphone icon in the search bar.

Google Search Bar.png

 Wait for the “speak now” command and then talk. You can ask questions, find information on various topics, search for images, or shop for products. Google's voice search is 92% accurate and will bring back results in the same way as any keyword search. In some cases, Google may even bring back a voice answer, where the top search result is spoken.

Android phones use Google Chrome as the default browser. If you’re an iPhone user, you will need to download the Google app to get started. You’ll also have the option to turn off voice search at any point.

What are 'ok Google' commands?

As well as providing a simple and convenient way to browse online, this incredible technology also lets you use voice commands for other things too. By turning on ‘Ok Google’ voice detection on your phone, you can:

  • Make a call, send a text message or write an email
  • Set an alarm, set calendar reminders and check your schedule
  • Play music or change radio stations on Google Play
  • Get directions, find nearby places or look up travel plans
  • Check the weather, translate words and phrases or even solve maths problems

What is Siri?

Siri is the name of the intelligent personal assistant available on Apple iPhones, iPads and iPods. Through Siri, you can do many of the same things as Google Voice Search. As you’ll likely have entertainment apps on your iPhone or iPad, you can also use Siri to launch these apps with specific commands. For example, you can tell Siri to search for a film you want to watch or songs by a band on Spotify.

The virtual assistant has also been known to help out people who suffer from conditions such as autism - watch the video below to find out more:

On many Apple products, you can activate Siri by holding down the home button. If you are using an iPhone X, Siri is launched by holding the power button on the side, or you can activate the ‘Hey Siri’ option in your phone’s Settings. ‘Hey Siri’ works similarly to ‘Ok Google’ commands and makes voice search for Apple users a breeze. You can also use Siri with a headset by holding down either the centre button or call button. If you have a pair of AirPods, double-tap the outside of either one of them to use Siri.

Other voice search products

There are other search apps available, such as Sky Q Voice Search (which provides voice control for your TV remote) and the Amazon Echo. These devices mean you can use voice search for practically anything. Placing an order through Amazon, catching up on the news, making appointments in your calendar, setting your TV to record your favourite shows – you name it.

If you have several products that use voice search, watch our video to compare how different voice search products complete different tasks.