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BizReport : Mobile Marketing : October 16, 2014

Teens comfortable with voice search, adults feel like 'geeks'

If I were to ask you to perform a search on your smartphone right now, would you type it or speak it? A recent study by Google into voice-search habits in the U.S. suggests that if you type in your search you are probably old.

by Helen Leggatt

Google's 'Mobile Voice Study' found that, while 55% of teenagers (13-18 years of age) use voice search daily, just 41% of adults do so. However, of those adults who use voice search 56% say it makes them feel like a 'geek'. It wasn't so long ago that phones were used for just that - talking into - but today's technological reasons for doing so, asking your phone for help conducting tasks, obviously isn't comparable.

And, found Google, while teens are happy to use voice search while in the company of others, adults tend to use it primarly when there's no-one else around to witness their actions.

Overall, the findings from Google's study show that user experience with voice search is positive, even a fun activity. Key findings include:

- 40% use voice search to get directions;
- 32% use voice search to initiate phone calls;
- 39% use voice functionality to dictate text messages;
- 38% use voice search while watching television;
- 41% wish voice search could tell them where the TV remote was located;
- 23% use voice search while cooking;
- 51% of teens and 32% of adults use voice search 'just for fun';
- 27% use voice search to check the weather;
- 22% of teens use voice search in the bathroom.

"Voice search is a key feature of the Google app that's becoming ever more important as people spend more time on their mobile phones," said Scott Huffman, Google's Vice President for Conversational Search in a press release that accompanied the blog post.

"We wanted to learn more about how people of all ages use Google hands-free on their phones. We found that for teens, voice search comes as naturally as checking social media and they're getting very creative about how (and where) they use it. The study gives us great ideas about new ways we could help people -- maybe even help them find their keys and other elusive objects."

Tags: apps, behavior, consumer survey, Google, mobile, smartphone, voice search

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