Twitter gets into the voice game

Select Twitter users on iOS will now be able to upload voice files in addition to traditional text, image and video files. This gives users more options to interact while getting into the voice space.

Interestingly, this could make it harder to moderate content, but I’m sure AI will fix all of that.

Why It’s Hot
It’s hot if the feature is based on user needs and it will be interesting to see how Twitter power users integrate voice in their tweets. But I won’t be surprised if it doesn’t catch fire.

EasyJet Introduces Voice-Powered Trip Planning

EasyJet is launching an English-language voice search in its mobile app, letting travelers find flights by saying their destination, travel dates and airports they want to fly from. The soon-to-launch “Speak Now” feature — reportedly the first among airlines — aims to cut the time and hassle of searching for flights, which typically takes 12 taps on a smartphone.

EasyJet worked with Travelport, a developer of software for the travel industry, to create the tool with Google Cloud’s natural language understanding tool known as Dialogflow.​

Why It’s Hot

Shopping for and comparing flights on mobile can be a frustrating experience, but voice search can make it significantly more intuitive.


From Goggles to Lenses

Google just released Google Lens, and while we are mandated to go into frenzy mode, a closer look makes the unveiling a bit lackluster after all is said and done.
According to Google’s CEO,  “Google Lens is a set of vision-based computing capabilities that can understand what you’re looking at and help you take action based on what you are looking at.”

Sound familiar? It should…

The tech and use cases are not new. Yelp has long been using Monocle, Amazon has already introduced Flow, and Pinterest Lens has been around for a while. Also, this looks more like a Google Goggles 2.0 release. Since people were not ready for that, seems they have modified it to better fit existing behaviors vs. developing new ones.

What sets this apart from the rest is that, with Google being a search-driven platforms, the capabilities of the product are extended. But this may not be a good thing. While Amazon, Yelp, and Pinterest uses are more narrow and specific, resulting in the likelihood of desired results, the vastness of Google increases the chances of the results missing the mark. For example, I point it to a flower expecting to know where to buy it, and instead, it tells me whether it’s poisonous or not.

Now, what makes this unique is how it can integrate with Google Assistant, allowing users to use voice, images, or a combination of both to conduct searches. This also allows it to live across multiple Google platforms, which makes the adoption of the tech more likely.

This is where it gets interesting for advertisers. If this takes off, this gives us an entire new way to connect with consumers across all of Google’s products, and will probably force us to rethink the customer journey. While unknown, it’s exciting given new uncharted “media frontiers” don’t come about that often. From a data collection standpoint, it can also give us new (and hopefully) better way determine use intent.

Why It’s Hot

  • It’s surprising to see a tech giant unveil something so “meh”.
  • On the bright side it’s an opportunity for our brands to begin testing a new tech with a solid potential of adoption.
  • It’s a good example of a tech company pivoting to better suit existing behaviors vs. developing new ones.


Google Home Adds Voice Shopping For Everyday Items

Starting today, you can shop using Google Assistant on Google Home from retailers who support Google Express, including stores like Costco, Whole Foods, Walgreens, PetSmart, and Bed Bath & Beyond. The service links directly from Google Assistant, which supports voice search that drives searches for the company’s connected smart speaker, to its Express shopping service.

Consumers will have an option to say things like “Okay, Google, order Scott paper towels,” and as long as the brand participates in Google Express, the order is received and processed. If the consumer doesn’t know the brand, they only need to say “order paper towels” or “buy water” and Google Assistant will run through the options available through more than 50 national and locally available retailers.

For now consumers can order things that cost between $4 and $100. Google Assistant recites back the price that includes tax, which in most cases is determined by the location of the store in which the items are purchased.
All you have to do to get started is input your payment info and shipping address in the Settings menu of the Google Home app.

Why It’s Hot

Convenience and the shopping experience, especially for those everyday purchases like laundry detergent, paper towels and dog food. It was only a matter of time that Google would enter the connected home shopping experience with their voice-activated Google Home. Amazon has allowed us to do this through its own Alexa voice assistant.

Currently, Google Express shopping offers access to over 50 retailers for same-day delivery in 12 states. Similar to Amazon Prime, Google charges an annual membership fee. There’s also a minimum order amount and a delivery fee associated with Express. Until April 30, Google is waiving the fee.

On another note, Amazon and Google are considering another new use for their popular home speakers: becoming the home phone. Amazon Echo and Google Home could be used to make or receive calls. The feature could be rolled out sometime this year. Wouldn’t it be great to not have to carry your cell phone all the time in your house.

Introducing Google’s Buy Button

Google unveils “Purchases On Google,” which are basically buy buttons in mobile search ads.

Purchases on Google will be displayed after a user inputs an item into search and clicks on an ad, which will bring them to a Google-hosted, branded product page. For consumers, this will mean that you’ll see be a “buy” button in some promoted mobile search results, taking you to a page where you can buy the advertised product.

Shopping advertisers will pay on a cost-per-click basis.

Other 2 offerings on this front:

  • The Google Now price drop card indicates whether a product is being offered at a significant discount after it is searched for, a tactic that may fuel customers to purchase it before the price jumps up again.
  • Additionally, while Google does offer voice search options, it has expanded the functionality to encompass shopping. Consumers will now be able to ask specific questions about products and receive an answer in voice form. Users may ask for product ratings as well, which Google will display alongside snippets from the most useful customer reviews.



Learn more here.

Why It’s Hot

In the past year, Google has seen a 115 percent uptick in shopping searches stemming from smartphones around the world, cementing the mobile device’s role as a primary shopping tool (learn more here). The company’s focus on offering users specific answers to product inquiries, as well as streamlined checkout options, may prompt more retailers to join forces with it and allocate more of their advertising budgets to mobile search.

  • For users: The buy button will make the mobile web more functional, populated and app-like.
  • For advertisers: This feature will give advertisers a better sense of ROI.
  • For Google: This initiative will simply let Google sell more ads. Also, the buy button will drive use of Android Pay.


Google Eavesdrops On Its Users


Privacy campaigners and open source develops are up in arms over the secret installing of a Google listening software. The listening software, Chrome’s “OK, Google” hotword detection, is meant to detect words which make the computer respond when you talk to it. However, many users have complained its automatic activation without their permission when using Chromium, an open-source web browser from Google Chrome. This basically means that their computers are stealth configured to send what was being said in the room to somebody else, to a private company in another country, without your consent or knowledge.

Open-source advocates proposed that Google was downloading a “black box” on to their machines that was not open source and therefore could not be doing what it said it was meant to do. Google has since pulled its listening software from the open-source Chromium browser.


Why is it hot?

Voice search functions have become an accepted feature of modern smartphones, smart TVs, and now browsers, but they have caused concerns over privacy. While most services require users to opt in, many have question whether their use, which requires sending voice recordings potentially exposes private conservations held within the home.