How Google is empowering people to use their voice

The Science Museum turned out to be the perfect venue for Google’s gaze into the future of search marketing. Speaking at The Drum’s Big Bang conference, in partnership with Marin Software, Ian Carrington, managing director of Search Advertising at Google for EMEA talked about how the search giant has been at the forefront of innovation in technology.

He referred to how walking through the vast halls of The Science Museum reminds one of the advancements in technology over the last 100. The aviation hallway in particular, which shows the journey to the skies starting with the Wright Brothers, whose ‘Flying Machine’ was the first powered airplane to execute controlled and sustained flight. It was an interesting comparison to make to the technological evolution we see today; once innovation starts, it increases exponentially.

“We’ve only been flying for a couple of hundred years. For thousands of years before that – nothing. When you look at the advancement and pace of technological change today, everything is getting faster. Today is going to be the slowest day of your lives going forward, because we are going to be more connected to more devices in more ways – all the time,” he said.

From the Google Lens launch in September 2018 – creating the option to ‘search what you see’, to Google Translate now having 95% accuracy across 100s of languages (which also works offline), and to innovation in how we can ethically use AI to perform simple tasks.

“All these things we're doing are to increased expectations. Our expectations are higher with mobile - that it should be quicker than desktop. 51% of people expect content to appear at the right time and 31% of people will immediately navigate away from content if their expectations are not met” said Carrington.

For the last 20 years, search advertising has been text in and text out. That is starting to evolve. And while voice is not currently mass market, according to Carrington, it is very much the future.

His advice to the advertisers and marketers in the room was simple - be helpful. Give users the info they want, in the way they want it, when they want it.

“Understanding the customer journey and being aware of it, is the first step in giving that customer what they want. All companies are finding their way through this. No one knows the answer yet. It's an exciting time.”

Carrington, a veteran in digital advertising, is the former The Drum’s Search Top 50 individual.

You can see our other highlights from The Big Bang here.

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