Google introduces ‘conversational search’

Google introduced its latest search update at its I/O developer conference yesterday (15 May) with a voice search feature that will attempt to anticipate users’ questions based on previous queries.

Google confirmed its music streaming service yesterday (15 May) at its developer conference.

Dubbed ‘OK Google’, the new voice search feature is geared towards making users’ interaction with Google more “conversational”, as opposed to one-way keyword-based queries.

For instance, a user can make a query such as ‘What is the weather like in San Francisco today?’. then receive a spoken answer.

The user can then continue the conversation by asking a follow-up question such as ‘how far is it from here?’, etc.

The update was revealed at Google I/O in San Francisco and was elaborated in a blog post by Amit Singhal, senior VP at Google.

The post reads: “People communicate with each other by conversation, not by typing keywords — and we’ve been hard at work to make Google understand and answer your questions more like people do.”

The announcement also detailed updates to Google’s Knowledge Graph, which will now give users more context in the answers to their queries.

For instance, when a user asks Google the population of a country, the search engine will provide an answer plus how the number has changed over the course of time, plus provide a comparison to a related country.

Separately, Google confirmed the launch of its music streaming service, ‘Google Play Music All Access’ into the US market.

The service allows access to a library of songs via Android mobile devices or web browser. Users can add songs to their own playlists or allow a feature called ‘Explore’ to deliver recommendations.

However, unlike steaming services such as Spotify there is no option to use it beyond the 30-day trial period. Users will be charged $9.99 (£6.60) per month but those signing up early will be charged $7.99 (£5.24) per month.

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