Voice-Driven Searches Now 20%: Microsoft

Like maps and navigation Google has seen voice as a strategic area and invested heavily in it: Voice Search, Voice Input and Voice Actions. Most recently the company acquired Phonetic Arts to improve "voice output" on mobile devices. 

Indeed maps/navigation and speech are the big differentiators of Android vs. the iPhone. Ad network Chitika said that about 7% of iPhone search queries (on Google) are voice initiated. By comparison, earlier this year Google reported that 25% of search queries on Android devices are initiated by voice.

In a meeting last week with Microsoft the company told me that about 20% of mobile queries on Bing are now voice driven. This number is obviously very consistent with Google's Android number. It suggests that over time more and more search queries and other types of actions on the phone will be initiated by voice. 

Right now, I'm told, speech-input queries are quite similar to text-based queries. But as people gain more experience with speech and voice search on mobile devices we should see longer and more specific queries. We may even see more rapid growth of mobile search query volumes due to voice. As keyboard frustration and "friction" disappear search queries will grow. 

Speech thus makes mobile search (vs. app usage) much more viable for consumers overall. 

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