It is no secret that voice search is on an upward trend, with ComScore even predicting that voice search will account for over 20% of all human to computer searches in 2017 and by 2020 we should see that number rise to a full 50% (Comscore, 2016). The result of this will be billions of AI-driven conversations in the near future. With the rise of voice search, we will see many industries affected and changed, including the way local search is conducted.
With voice being the most natural form of communication, it comes as no surprise that people want to conduct voice searches similar to the way they would talk to another person. Users are moving away from keyword searches such as “pizza shop near me” to “I want a pepperoni pizza for dinner”. This shift towards conversational requests adds another layer of complexity that requires the ability to understand and process more natural, conversational search queries. Integrating Artificial Intelligence (AI) into the world of local search opens the door to many unique search experience opportunities and a natural pathway for businesses to conduct transactions with their customers as a part of a natural flow of conversation. The challenge will be building a system that is able to process and respond to this new, conversational search method.
An AI-complete local search experience should accomplish several tasks including allowing users to search using their own words, interpret those requests contextually, intelligently consider a range of options and then return logical responses in an appropriate and natural way. A successful integration of AI in a local search environment will facilitate the transition from keyword search to users making requests like “I want to get my hair cut and colored” using four key components of AI:
- Speech Recognition, which allows spoken words to be deciphered into machine language.
- Neural Networks that provide the ability to interpret user requests contextually.
- Knowledge Graphs that contain a comprehensive view on local business data and can look deeply into the subject matter at hand.
- Natural Language Generation to facilitate the delivery of meaningful responses and results to a user’s initial request.
This connection of local search and artificial intelligence will inspire a host of different search types including searches for businesses by name, category, specific products or services, open hours or even the ability to book an appointment or reservation and possibly the ability to connect with a business directly over the phone. Ultimately, this transition will help people connect to the right local businesses in their own words.
Here at Soleo, we have been working to create such a system that supports conversational commerce in a way that provides end users a unique, one-stop search engine for all their local business information needs. To learn more about how we work to connect people to the right local businesses, contact us at email@example.com to learn more about our local search platform