Launch: Google’s “Conversational Search” On Chrome

This May Google launched the “Conversational Search” function which is currently available on the newest version of Chrome. This new search function allows you to talk to Google and create a conversation. When you are using Chrome go to the home screen on Google, you will notice a microphone next to the search bar. Click this button to use the conversation function.

This will allow you to use the computers microphone or a headset to ask Google a question. For example if I asked Google “What is the Population of the United States?”, it returns the following :

The system is designed to remember your previous searches so that you could ask Google a series of questions. Theoretically I could then ask Google what is the Unemployment rate and Google should already know that I was talking about the United States. During the demonstration of this new feature, a series of questions were asked about the President of the United States. In that presentation, Google and Chrome remembered the conversation and the conversation function worked. I attempted toe recreate this demonstration but was not able to. This leads me to believe that there are still bugs to be worked out of the system.

So what does this feature mean for search results and website visits. At first glance I think that informational sites like Wikipedia and IMDB might see the greatest impact on their website traffic. As information is presented in a Google “Card”, a user does not need to click for further information. If I can ask a series of questions without having to scroll or search through a website, this would eliminate the need to travel to the page that this information as pulled from.

The one glaring flaw to this program is that the “conversation function” is only activated when using voice commands. This seems like a very large draw back as most people will prefer to type in their questions rather than voice them out loud. I myself found it to be embarrassing to be asking questions out loud that people around me might already know the answers too.

I think that this program is moving in the right direction and when “type search” can be used for the conversation function it will have a lasting impact on informational websites. At the moment there are no real winners and losers for Google’s Conversation tool. In theory this would be helpful for research but at the moment the system needs work.

By Matthew Wilkos

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