Google’s voice products are entering the business world for the first time, and the tech is going to make basic web traffic analysis more convenient for publishers.
Computer science is building bridges between users and machines. As Natural Language Processing – the area of computer science that focuses on helping machines to understand our “natural” language – continues to develop, the way that we communicate with machines will become more on our own terms.
Google Analytics is proving that this is the case. Over the next few weeks Google will roll-out an exciting suite of voice features that will make publishers feel like they are truly in the future. With nearly 60% of marketers saying that analytics tools are too difficult to use (based on this Google white paper), there is certainly a market for a simpler way of interacting with analytics.
Here’s what you can expect from the features, and where we think the tech will go next.
This recent post on the Google Blog shows us which features publishers can expect from the release. In a slick video, we see how web analysts will be able to ask “what” questions to Google Analytics and receive relevant answers instantly. We are shown a series of potential scenarios where this technology could be used such as extracting a report quickly before a meeting or actually using the technology in a meeting itself.
The voice activated tech is great for the 60% of marketers that believe analytics tools are too difficult to use, and it is clear how the tech is going to work toward Google’s goal of helping publishers to create great content that reaches their audience. We might also see a new generation of novice Analytics users that decide to try out the technology for the first time.
This piece from TechCrunch makes a distinction between “what” and “why” questions. At the moment, NLP technology is at a level where searches are executed based on identified keywords. This is how other Google products like Android and Search work. But in the future – as more voice data is amassed and NLP develops – the objective is for machines to truly understand users.
This means that in the future Google Analytics will be able to answer not only “what” questions (“What is the bounce rate for users in India this month?”), but also “why” questions (“Why is my traffic in India lower this month?”). As Google Analytics becomes more sophisticated in its capacity to respond to voice-based questions, web analysts will likewise be liberated to tackle the more complex questions that still require the application of a unique human mind.
As adoption of the technology increases, Google will also top-up their valuable store of data, getting a better idea of the frequent questions that people ask, and also in what way. So practice those vocal chords – the future looks vocal.
Featured image by Gavin Whitner