Most everyone knows of Siri by now. Has anyone come of age any faster? When I hear news of Siri I immediately think of the impending takeover by computers and the subsequent apocalypse (ie Skynet, Cylons, and The Borg).
I’m not an iPhone user, so me and Siri are strangers. However, because of the work we do in search marketing, I do pay attention when someone, reputable, says Google is in danger.
In the spirit of paying attention to Google’s well being I was reading a recent Search Engine News (great resource, not an affiliate link) about Siri and it’s (his?) threat to Google.
"Siri has the ability to completely shatter Google’s search monopoloy as we know it because it makes search completely obsolete….Siri doesn’t return Google, Yahoo or Bing search results. Siri just provides you with the information you’re looking for." Search Engine News
Google’s search monopoly shattered?
A small study conducted by The Arora Report found that Siri users quickly abandoned Google. As the Search Engine News article put it, "consumers feel that one right answer from Siri is better than 1 million relevant links from Google."
Yikes! That’s potentially world changing for a search marketing company like ours. (My head hurts.) Should we get in to Siri Optimization?
Siri can still use Google search results to answer a question, so it isn’t exactly a replacement for Google, just a potentially helpful interloper. Siri is also going to provide a nice boost to Yelp, as it’s a "go to" resource. Similarly, the not so well known WolframAlpha search engine will be getting more attention.
Clearly there’s a movement toward mobile devices, whether phone or tablet, that makes browsing search results pages less than enjoyable. At the end of his article about Siri and SEO on Inc.com, Jeff Haden says "more and more, your customers won’t be hanging out on search engines." I think he’s right. Granted, a SERP is much better than a YellowBook, but it’s still a clunky interface and not much fun.
No doubt Siri alternatives are being developed as you read this. Google
, Bing and others are likely to catch up. If the technology gets good and becomes widely adopted, then it could just turn in to a marketing game. Some "Siri’s" will probably be better than others, but it might boil down to a style issue. Do you want a hipster search familiar or a working-class version? What about an animal helper? What about a version that can match search results to your personality? Could Siri learn that you like cheaper restaurants or prefer non-smoking establishments?
The possibilities are overwhelming (Where’s my EMP device just in case?), both intriguing and scary. I’m all for less typing, so that’s good, and probably safer. The scariest thing for me is how many people are likely to trust Siri and reduce critical thinking skills even further. "Siri made me do it…and the Twinkie." That’s my cynical side coming out. Let’s not go down that path.
Search/Find/Decide technology is evolving, and so must the business of search. It’s doubtful Google is going to be put down so easily, but the times, as the man says, are a changin’. Who knows? If Apple is super successful with their development of AI, Mr. Siri might become a free agent.