I was traveling in San Francisco recently with my friend Tom Delorme from our Paris office. We had spent the previous few days at Google’s HQ in Mountain View and had much food for thought after that experience.
Tom had never been to San Francisco so we got to play tourist for a few days – visiting Alcatraz, the Golden Gate Bridge, etc. While there, I got to introduce Tom to some of my favorite dining options including The Slanted Door and my favorite burger joint, In-n-Out.
During our lunch (double-double, animal style with cheese) at the In-n-Out, Tom brought up the fact that Google’s phone-based search service was the model for something much larger. By dialing 800-GOOG-411, users get free search information on any topic that they could search from their own computers. There was, however, just one catch. Whenever one dialed the 800 number, the recording that answered immediately stated, “this call is being recorded.” He asked me why I thought that Google would establish a server farm to capture teraflops of data from all of these calls. We went back and forth on that for a few minutes until the answer dawned on us.
Google was building the mother-of-all voice recognition databases. If Tom called 800-GOOG-411 and asked a question in his Parisian-accented English it would clearly sound different than if I asked the same question in my New York tone of voice. By recording all of the calls, Google would have a polyglot database that would allow them to deliver accurate search results via voice recognition. Now, that is just the next evolution of search, but how do you take it and make it innovative?
You go mobile.
A few days ago, Google released voice search for the iPhone. It works. Well.
As I have written previously, we have yet to truly unleash the power of mobile here in the United States. We are just starting to think about its possibilities and its impact. Given what Google has done with voice search, ask yourself this question: “Is my company ready to capitalize on search delivered via mobile device?” I am willing to bet that most companies are not even thinking about mobile search. How is the emerging technology going to impact the development and delivery of search campaigns about employment? Imagine, you will be able to deliver experiential employment videos and profiles via mobile – pretty powerful stuff. Only time will tell, but smart companies are already thinking about it.
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