Google Voice Search on the desktop: Will people adopt it?

Summary:Google introduced major changes to its mobile and desktop-optimized search engines on Tuesday. One of the more surprising new features was the integration of Voice Search onto the desktop. But will people use it?

Google introduced major changes to its mobile and desktop-optimized search engines on Tuesday. One of the more surprising new features was the integration of Google Voice Search onto the desktop. But will people use it?

At work, the answer is probably no. This would add a lot of useless noise and chatter to office spaces. Can you just imagine if Voice Search actually doesn't recognize the term someone is saying (even though it is supposed to already know at least 230 billion words) and he/she has to practically scream it into the computer's microphone? No, that would not be helpful. It would also just waste a lot of time that could have been avoided by typing a few words.

At home, it's possible. There is less to no need for a headset with a built-in microphone, and users could speak as loudly as they might very well please. Considering Google didn't discuss much about the volume level of the speaker's voice, we have no idea if this matters or not. It really could if someone mumbles when whispering or something to that effect.

There are a few instances where Voice Search on the desktop might be very useful, most of which are already depicted in the demo below. One example is when translating between languages. For basic phrases and words, Google Translate has already proven itself to be one of the better online translators available for free.

Another instance would be when someone just happens to be in a hurry and doesn't have time to sit down and type. That person could search for flight information or the weather, as just a few examples, by talking to the computer (hopefully a bit slowly as a rushed voice would likely cause the search process to take longer) and then just glance at the screen. Then, boom. Done.

One could also argue that Voice Search would be helpful for searching for words and terms when you just don't know how to spell them. Searching by typing in Google's browser already leads to spelling suggestions when the entered keyword isn't recognized. But perhaps the user can't spell out the sounds as well as he/she could pronounce it. (That's a bit of a far-fetched example, but it could happen.)

However, at this point in time, it's difficult to imagine Voice Search on the desktop being as used as commonly as the mobile version. Even Voice Search for mobile isn't something everyone talks about all the time. I hardly ever see anyone actually use it, at least not on the street. But at least that one makes more sense as anyone who is on-the-go is more likely to want to say a search entry than type one in on a 3- or 4-inch touch screen.

Voice Search for the desktop definitely has more use potential than some of Google's other creations as of late. But it's going to be awhile before this new feature becomes a common one.

Related:

Topics: Hardware, Browser, Google

About

Rachel King is a staff writer for CBS Interactive based in San Francisco, covering business and enterprise technology for ZDNet, CNET and SmartPlanet. She has previously worked for The Business Insider, FastCompany.com, CNN's San Francisco bureau and the U.S. Department of State. Rachel has also written for MainStreet.com, Irish Americ... Full Bio

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