Google Unveils Conversational Search Product At I/O Conference

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Google has unveiled a piece of conversational search technology at its I/O developer conference in San Francisco.

The American search giant's senior vice president and software engineer, Amit Singhal, told the audience that the software would be able to recognise a user's desire to make a search in Google's Chrome web browser just by simply uttering the words 'OK Google.'

A demonstration of the software displayed that Google was working on a search function that would allow the feature to understand the context of a question.

In a blog post published on Google's Inside Search blog, Singhal wrote: "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.

He added: "Soon, you'll be able to just say, hands-free 'OK Google, will it be sunny in Santa Cruz this weekend?' and get a spoken answer. Then, you'll be able to continue the conversation and just follow up with "how far is it from here?' if you care about the drive, or 'how about Monterey?' if you want to check weather somewhere else, and get Google to tell you the answer."

This latest Google development could have a significant impact on SEO in the long run, and is likely to draw comparisons to Apple's personal assistant application, Siri.

Back in 2011, Google's executive chairman, Eric Schmidt, acknowledged Siri as a potential threat to Google's search business.

At the time, he said: "Apple's Siri is a significant development - a voice-activated means of accessing answers through iPhones that demonstrates the innovations in search."

Although the yet-to-be named feature hasn't been given an official release date, it's expected to launch in the near future.

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