Independent Thinking Blog

The Google Habit, Voice Search, and the Jetsons

Vanessa Fox compared the Internet to the Jetsons. (I’ll come back to that in a minute.)

In remarks at xPotomac, Fox talked about voice search, habits, and what’s next, and keyed up several threads that would dominate the conversation all day long. Fox focused her attention on the holy grail of search–relevancy–and asked how the ways that we find information today might be different tomorrow.

A few takeaways:

1. Voice search isn’t a great leap forward, at least not yet. Fox pointed out that voice search today is really the next iteration of voice-to-text rather than a game changer.

2. Google is a habit, a way that many of us identify and interact with information. This has only intensified for me since I adopted Google apps for business a few weeks ago. I looked up yesterday morning and counted seven open browser windows–5 from Google alone (2 e-mail, a calendar, my Reader, and Google +). And my browser? Google Chrome. My phone: Google’s operating system.

3. The ad model has to change. As voice search improves (and Google’s version is already far better than Apple’s Siri), the visuals will disappear. That’s already happening as mobile (and smaller screens) proliferates. This offers new challenges–and opportunities–for marketers.

Our relationship to the Internet today is in many ways akin to the world of the Jetsons, a universe where everything you need is pretty much just “there.” We think less and less about how we access it (and, hence, the “habit”)–we just do it.

Your challenge: Disrupt the habit.

Fox threw out a challenge to xPotomac participants: what can you do to disrupt the Google habit and become the answer instead? Are you the app that pops up first? Can you create a new distribution channel?

No easy answers, but a lot of food for thought.

Photo by Accretion Disc (Flickr). 

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