Search engine giant Google is in process of replacing its voice search on the Android devices with Google Assistant, which is an artificial-intelligence powered virtual assistant that is primarily available on mobile and smart home devices. It is different from Google’s previous virtual assistant Google Now. Google Assistant has the ability to get engaged in two-way conversations.
A report from a leading daily states that the old voice search icon has been replaced with an Assistant icon in the Google App and search bar widget. Moreover, the search bar widget now invites the users to “Ask your Assistant” when it earlier had the message “Say “Hey Google”. When it is triggered the voice queries are performed by Assistant and results open in a slide-up panel.
The search engine is shifting its interest from regular voice search to Assistant and is an indication of where Google wants to guide the future of its services. The change can have an impact to a small percentage of organic search traffic to publishers as Assistant’s penchant for providing direct answers. When the users are given answers that they need from Google Assistant, they do not have to search and click through to publisher’s sites.
However, it is important to keep in mind that the Assistant cannot provide a direct answer for every query. So such a change only has the potential to impact whichever percentage of searches are conducted using voice search on Android. But it is impossible to know exactly how large or small that percentage is as Google does not provide voice search data. The Assistant had initially debuted in 2016 and was a part of Google’s messaging app Allo and its voice-activated speaker Google Home. The AI service was initially exclusive on Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones and was gradually deployed to Android devices including the third party smartphones and Android wear in February 2017.
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