Smartphone owners happier to use voice search in public

The voice search function on a smartphone is incredibly useful, as you can just tell your handset what you want information on, without typing.

But, let's face it, it's easy to feel a bit self-conscious when you're using it on a bus, train or in any other public place.

However, the tide appears to be turning, with people increasingly feeling less inhibited about speaking into the handset while they are on the move.

A study carried out by Stone Temple Consulting in the US found that people like using voice rather than keyboard-based interfaces is because it is fast, accurate and removes the need to type. 

Consumers are also becoming more impressed with how well virtual assistants understand what they are saying.

Indeed, nearly one in five respondents said they believe built-in personal assistants such as Cortana, Siri and Google Assistant understand them “very well”, while a further one in three said they understand them “well”.

That's a good endorsement of the technology and suggests that its accuracy is one of the main reasons why people have taken it to their hearts.

The fact that voice-enabled technology is increasingly being used in the home could also be playing a part.

Many people are now very confident giving verbal instructions to a smart speaker in their house, and that might have fundamentally influenced their wider attitude to this technology.

They've seen it work at home, so why shouldn't they take advantage of it when they're out and about too?

Where are people using voice search?

The Stone Temple Consulting study featured some very interesting insights into exactly where people are using voice search functionality.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, most of it was at home alone or in the office when nobody else was around. But around half were found to use it at home with friends, while nearly four in ten are happy to use it on public transport – nearly double the amount recorded a year earlier. 

The proportion of people using voice search in a restaurant with friends, at work with colleagues and at a party also shot up, while smartphone users are also increasingly willing to speak to their gadget at the gym, in a theatre or in a public toilet.

Consumers embracing lots of different voice-controlled apps

Another interesting finding of the study was that consumers are using voice interfaces for many different tasks. 

Nearly six in ten use them  for texting, while around half use them to make a call. Meanwhile, almost four in ten use their voice to navigate a map, and the same proportion use it to perform online searches.

In addition, more than a third are playing music via a voice-controlled app, while just over one in five are setting reminders and making notes verbally.

And perhaps most notably, just a little under one in five respondents said they don't control any apps with voice commands.

That means the vast majority are routinely speaking to their gadgets these days – and are happy to do so in all manner of settings.

We can therefore expect voice interfaces to become more and more common – and much more accurate – over the next few years.

Written by Mazuma

Mazuma Mobile is the UK's most trusted mobile phone recycling service.

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