Many companies that are just diving deeper into the topic of voice including the Internet of Voice, voice assistants, voice bots and so on ask themselves which platform they should get started on. Ideally, you should be represented on all major platforms, however, if you have to choose, we currently recommend to invest in the development of a voice assistant with Google Assistant.
We are happy to share why we think Google Assistant is leading the voice assistant race at the moment and how you can get started with you in this article.
#1: Google Assistant has the best speech recognition
Speech recognition comprises two aspects: 1) are the spoken words recognized (“Speech-to-Text”) and 2) is the context of the spoken words understood.
As we previously explained, there are still some challenges to overcome in the field of speech recognition. Nevertheless, Google Assistant is clearly ahead of its competitors such as Amazon’s Alexa or Apple’s Siri.
The American Venture Capital Fnd Loup Ventures conducts an annual test to check the “IQ” of voice assistants such as Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa and Siri. Using 5 types of questions or statements the skills of the respective voice assistants are tested. Questions about local recommendations, ordering products, directions, general information and instructions, for example, to remember a specific date and more are asked. Astonishingly, Google Assistant outdid all competitors in 4 of the 5 categories, except for instructions, that is where Siri excelled.
Regarding speech recognition, Google Assistant was able to correctly understand all 100% of the asked questions (Alexa: 99.9%, Siri 99.8%). Google Assistant was also the clear winner when it came to answering questions – 92.9% of the inquiries were answered correctly (only 83.1% for Siri and 79.8% for Alexa).
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Knowledge Graphs and the structuring of knowledge
The reason for Google Assistant having the best response rate for simple general questions is that Google builds on the best database with billions of indexed websites and structured metadata.
Google’s enormous preeminence definitely comes in handy as its “ranking factors” serve millions of webmasters as a standard for preparing their web content in order to be listed on the popular “Google Page One” – the first page of search results.
This affects e.g. the specification of metadata in the schema.org scheme – this information helps Google structure the web content and flows into a Knowledge Graph that Google uses to structure and prepare information on the web.
However, Google will not prepare your corporate knowledge – it is too complex for this. Therefore, companies are required to prepare and develop their own Knowledge Graph. This way, their knowledge base can be made accessible to Google users through conversational interfaces.
If the questions of users are reliably understood and answered informatively and clearly, this, of course, leads to higher user-friendliness of the voice assistant, and Google Assistant is clearly ahead of others there as well.
#2: Google Assistant offers companies access to the largest user base/largest possible target group
There are already more than 2.5 billion Android devices in use worldwide and Google Assistant is installed on all of them, not just as an app, but as a native functionality of the Android operating system. Therefore, all Android users can use Google Assistant. However, that’s not all. Users can use Google Assistant through Siri even on iOS devices (iPhones, iPads).
Companies building their first voice assistant with Google Assistant thus have access to a huge market that includes Android and iOS users alike.
#3: GA is the optimal preparation for Voice Search/Voice First
As the dominant search engine worldwide with almost 90% market share, Google clearly specifies which criteria websites have to meet in order to receive an excellent ranking.
Everyone knows the tough battle for Google’s first page and knows how difficult it is to improve the ranking for organic search results. Until recently, this concerned only text-based search, which is carried out in the web browser and lists several results on each page.
However, we are quickly moving into a “Voice first” world. Voice search will soon be the primary form of search as the convenience and time savings are too great compared to text-based searches.
Voice assistants will not present 10 alternatives because the user’s attention span would soon be overloaded when listening. If Google Assistant will only offer 1 or 2 answers or alternatives, it is obvious that the fight for the so-called Position Zero will be even more intense.
Of course, Google is working intensively on making the voice-first user behavior to the new normal, sooner rather than later. And user queries that are obtained via Google Assistant help prepare and gain knowledge about the search behavior via voice search.
We recommend every company to experiment with Google Assistant as soon as possible to be indexed by Google Assistant in voice search as early as possible and to maximize the probability of being selected within the few given answers/options.
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#4: Google Assistant is the perfect start for a prioritized voice strategy
As mentioned before, we are often asked about the best course of action and the “first step” towards a voice strategy.
At Onlim we recommend the following process:
First you should start with a chatbot on your own website. As you already have traffic there user requests can provide valuable data regarding the most important inquiries and their precise wording (an important criterion for voice assistants!). These serve as training data for the development and improvement of speech recognition and Conversational AI.
At the same time, we recommend developing a simple Google Action to gain valuable experience with the technology. This is a better approach than creating Google Action that should be found solely through Google.
The data collected via the chatbot on the website can, in turn, be used as training data for Google Assistant because the structure of the data stays the same.
# 5: Google Assistant offers the possibility to cross-link between channels/media
With Google Assistant it is also possible to cross-link between different apps. For example, you can access your browser, the YouTube app or other apps directly from a conversation in Google Assistant to review other relevant content.
This creates the possibility for companies to place relevant cross-links, for example, to link from the information search in Google Assistant to their website for booking.
What does this mean for company owners and managers?
As a company, you first have to define what you want to achieve with your voice assistant. The type of company must also be considered. What is the main goal? Should information from your knowledge database be reproduced in natural language or should sales be increased as well?
E-commerce operators who already sell their products on Amazon should of course place higher priority on Amazon Alexa and develop an Alexa skill.
But even in retail/online shopping, Google Assistant is in no way inferior to Amazon Alexa. Google Assistant can, for example, bring traffic to your own website and direct sales, where your margins are higher.
Even in the future will the task to create strategies for various channels not change for marketing teams. As a company, you have to decide whether you want to be active in one or more channels for your lead generation.
If you are heavily dependent on organic search, an investment in the development of an action with Google Assistant can be particularly profitable. Most users simply search for information there and Google Assistant is the most important traffic provider in voice search.
One thing that we always tell our customers is that it’s an innovation. Everyone who gets on board now will experience this, but you learn quickly and when the system scales – which is only a matter of time – the early adopters will once again have a clear competitive advantage.
That is why the time for companies to deal with voice assistants is not in 5 or 10 years, but right now.
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