My Contrarian Google Post: Something New But Not Google+
Yesterday and today many of my fellow bloggers in the social media/online marketing space were abuzz about Google+. I was contemplating whether to add my slightly informed two cents to the discussion when I opened my browser. The home page is the New York Times and there, in a banner ad, one day after Google+ launched, was an invitation to demo the also new Google Voice for the desktop.
I was so excited! Google Voice on my Droid is a great fave. It’s so much easier to speak my queries than to try to type them into the tiny browser pane on a phone – especially sitting at red lights. Granted voice search on mobile can be tricky at times, but what the mike hears – compared to what you’re actually searching for can be amusing – if not downright laugh-worthy.
Thinking about it for a moment, I wasn’t sure that voice search would be as valuable at my desk, since the typing thing isn’t as challenging as on mobile. It probably won’t help in multi-tasking as I can’t interrupt a phone call to speak search terms into a mike, but nonetheless I decided to give it a try right away.
All I needed for my demo was the latest version of the Google Chrome browser, which I already have downloaded and which I use sometimes – not always. When I do use it, I’m always bemused by the fact that the Start Internet button on Chrome has the MSN butterfly logo and when you click it, it brings up a big Bing search window. Is this Google generosity? I don’t know.
Anyhow, the instructions for demo-ing Google Voice were to go to Google.com, make sure your microphone is on and click on the microphone icon in the search pane.
I decided to test drive voice search with a search for the restaurant where I’m meeting a friend later. I didn’t remember the full name but we call it by the abbreviation, Sails. It’s named for the boating community of RowaytonConnecticutwhere it’s located. Can you see what’s coming??
After I clicked the mike icon, the ‘Speak Now’ thingy (the high tech name for it of course) activated and I said “Sails Rowayton.”
The results came up with variations on: Sales in Rowayton andNorwalk.
OK. Time to adjust. So I tried again with ‘Sails Restaurant Rowayton.”
Again I got a lot of stuff around Sales and some restaurant related results.
Then I thought that maybe it’s ‘Sails Grille’ so I tried that and Bingo! (not Bing Oh) I got results for “Sails American Grille Rowayton CT”
How funny that my first experience with Google Voice involved homonyms – sound alike/different meanings for the non-English majors. That’s trial by fire in my book. So I decided to try a less challenging search: “Norwalk Movies.”
A second after the sounds left my throat, there were the times of all the movies we might want to see after dinner at Sails. My typing-weary fingers said ‘Thank You” and fortunately Google Voice didn’t hear them and start a new search.
I don’t how useful it will ultimately be, but I kind of like speaking to the voice searcher at my desk – more than I like speaking to the devil women in voicemail menu hell. I have to admit that I actually yell at them sometimes.
I experience the voice searcher as a more generous entity, trying to help me find what I want without controlling me. We’ll get to know each other better and I’ll get better at figuring out how to get what I need from our ‘conversation.’ Maybe I’ll stick a note in Google’s suggestion box that they should hire Watson for the job. He’ll get the context and nuance. That’ll probably be the new Google launch next week.
Stay tuned. What’s your favorite new Google release?