What is the Difference Between Voice Search and Voice Assistants?

Voice search and voice assistants are available through Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Microsoft Cortana, Samsung Bixby and Apple Siri. This article helps brand managers learn how to literally be “top of mind” for both voice search and AI-driven voice assistants.

For both brand owners and digital agencies who are new to voice technology, it’s important to know the difference between voice search and “voice apps.”

Voice Search

Voice search essentially replaces your keyboard. What you would type into a search engine, you speak into a device capable of reaching a search engine.

  1. Both Google Assistant and Apple Siri use Google’s search engine. The effort you put into search engine optimization (SEO) on Google can be slightly modified for conversational searches which are longtail searches spoken in the form of a question or command.

  2. Both Amazon Alexa and Microsoft Cortana use Microsoft’s Bing search engine. You may use a similar strategy for Bing as you do for Google.

  3. Samsung Bixby has its own search and voice capabilities.

Integrating voice into your existing search engine optimization (SEO) strategy may yield additional interaction with your brand via traditional online channels – web sites, videos, images, etc. There are search engine optimization (SEO) techniques that may help improve the top of page results – at least until the next search engine algorithm update.

As with keyboard searches, you cannot control what results will be presented with voice search. There may be no consistency of experience – over time – or across search engines – or among consumers.

Voice Assistant “Apps”

The conversational flow in voice assistant apps is controlled by the brand. This provides consumers with a more relevant and engaging experience than simply returning random search results. You can coordinate your voice app conversation design into your multi-channel marketing messaging for consistency.

Voice apps can be enhanced with items you select or design - graphic images, video, music and touch-screen buttons to promote engagement, making them multimodal. Most importantly, voice apps can be integrated into your customer relationship management system (CRM) for personalize user experiences.

Brands can design and develop voice user experiences (VUX) with Google Actions, Alexa Skills, Cortana Skills and Bixby Capsules. Note: Although Siri has Shortcuts which interact with the apps on your iPhone or home devices, brands cannot create custom voice user experiences.

Interestingly, none of these are called “apps” officially. But there is plenty of code behind the scenes that makes the human – computer interaction work. Creating VUX requires specific technical skills and conversational designers who know what the technology can and cannot do – across all the voice assistant ecosystems. A well-designed and implemented voice app can go viral, acquiring additional media coverage.

On Whetstone Technologies’ SoniBridge platform, brands can monetize the voice-first, multimodal experience by enabling the users to opt-in to receive text messages with offers (B2C) and whitepapers (B2B) and /or web site links – automatically and immediately.

Want to experience the difference between voice search and voice assistants? For voice search press the microphone on your web browser and say "Tell me about Whetstone Technologies."

Then experience SoniBridge voice assistant apps by asking Alexa to “open Whetstone Technologies” or telling Google to “talk to Whetstone Technologies.”

Depending upon your surroundings and how clearly and slowly you spoke, you may have gotten some interesting answers. Learn how to ensure your brand is heard correctly.

Please contact us for more information on how to integrate voice technology into your marketing strategy. We’re happy to conduct a lunch and learn session for you and your team. Let’s start the conversation.

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