Google Conversational Speech has just been released on Chrome. As a linguist in my previous life, this is pretty incredible news.
Since forever, computers have had difficulty participating in natural language conversation, both spoken and written. Prepositions for example have always been tough. "Who is he?" He what? He where? What he? What does he refer to? As very young children, humans are innately able to discern who he is referencing based on previous conversation. It happens naturally and is mostly taken for granted, much like language acquisition as a whole. This skill however has been a major hurdle in developing natural language ability in computers. Google's new conversational speech is a strong step towards success.
Give it try. Update to the latest version of Chrome. Click the microphone in the search box and ask Google a question.
In Danny Sullivan's article on Search Engine Land, he use's the example of "How old is Barack Obama?" followed up with "How tall is he?" The fact that we are now beginning to be able to search the way we talk means that search as we now know it is about to change. My mobile phone is about to become my best friend. Imagine being able to train your phone to understand your humour, your lingo, your good moods and your no so good ones.
This is the beginning of a monumental shift in the way we search. We are about to start engaging at a more 'human' level with our devices. And for all of us marketers out there that means that our jobs are about to become a lot more complicated.