Apple fans and technology enthusiasts had been eagerly awaiting the company’s annual Worldwide Developers’ Conference, which just concluded in San Francisco about a week ago. As always, the tech space was abuzz. A number of updates were expected, especially pertaining to the rumored new models of MacBook Pro and the alleged phasing out of MacBook Air. Those didn’t come. But updates were announced for its various operating systems and a name change for the OS X, which will now be called MacOS (Sierra). The biggest news by far was that Apple’s voice assistant, Siri, has now been opened to developers, along with iMessage and Maps, and is also coming to the desktop.
Apple officials demonstrated a number of ways in which this can take place. Previously, Siri could only work with a select few apps, but with the API being made public, developers can now integrate Siri into apps with the help of SiriKit, as well as create apps that could optimally tap into the voice assistant’s functionality.
So what to expect then?
My first thought was, “Wow, we are going to get lazier!” But it was quickly followed by my tech-loving mind thinking, “The potential here is amazing!”
It has taken Apple a long time to make the Siri SDK available to developers. In the meantime, the app space has exploded. We have a larger number of messaging apps than ever, faster and snappier camera apps, as well as a greater variety of apps in general.
With the help of Siri, users will be able to voice type messages or simply tell Siri to send a message on their behalf. “Hey Siri, message WhatsApp mom to tell her I’ll be late,” for example.
We could even expect camera apps to open or launch particular modes with Siri integration–to even make payments, order a pizza, book an Uber, check out movie times, play the music of our choice from our devices, perform specific Internet searches, or make to-do lists.
It is ultimately down to how well the developers are able to make use of Siri in their apps with imagination and ingenuity. We will also see how well Siri is able to pull this off.
Voice search is widely touted as the future of SEO. Voice typing is handy, convenient, and saves time, and continuous improvements in technology have given us reliable voice assistants. In addition to Siri, there is Google Now, Cortana, and Amazon Echo.
With this new development, expect more emphasis and increased focus on voice search. Siri is, after all, a voice assistant! A greater number of people will start making use of voice command to execute tasks – and, as mentioned above, there could be a wide variety of functions this could perform.
Businesses would therefore have to begin optimizing their websites and content for voice search so that they are capable of being found via voice assistants like Siri.
We can’t expect Google and Microsoft to lie low after this announcement. Google Now opened up to third-party developers last year, but did so in a rather limited fashion. We can reasonably expect this to change. Cortana is open to third-party app developers as well, but the Windows platform on mobile is not huge. It is, however, the dominant operating system in the marketplace and we are already seeing some pretty impressive voice assistance on PCs.
Apple has been late to the party, but this new development will further stimulate the competition in the field. Particularly, we hope voice assistants will be able to understand a growing variety of accents, which has been a weak point all-around.
That’s right. Ultimately, that is where we are headed. We want our cars to intuit where we are going and accordingly adjust the route on navigation. We want our homes to light up when we step in. We want our speakers to be able to sense when we are in the room for them to start playing. But so far, our relationship with our phones has been rather rudimentary in nature, meaning, we have been content not to use all of its features, and rarely do we push it to its limits. I myself haven’t used Siri much beyond setting the alarm on my clock or making a call when I’m too busy to use my hands for the purpose.
But as voice search becomes more refined, incremental updates are brought to voice assistance technology, and as more apps integrate this option, we can expect something phenomenal to occur. I like to imagine a day when I can get by relying entirely on voice command to execute all the important work-related tasks. Can my iPhone do that yet? Nope. But maybe it could in a few years’ time.
Where do you think voice assistant technology will lead us? How often do you give voice commands to your phone? How reliable is the response, and has the technology helped you save time, be more productive, or simply have fun with it? Most importantly, entrepreneurs might wonder, what impact might it have on future digital marketing opportunities for your business? After all, optimizing for voice search will become far more important in the near future. Share your thoughts and concerns, and let our experts keep you ahead of the curve for the next generation of technology!
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