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Google Launches Conversational Search

by Fox Van Allen on May 23, 2013

Tech giant Google has launched a new conversational search feature for users of its popular Chrome browser.

Conversational search works when you choose to search using your own voice. After clicking or touching the microphone icon to launch voice search, you simply ask a question in plain language, such as “what’s Madonna’s real name?” Google then interprets the question and attempts to deliver the answer – in this case, returning “Madonna Louise Ciccone.” Google is able to understand exactly what information you're looking for, even if you didn't make your request absolutely clear.

Where conversational search really shines, however, is in its ability to interpret follow-up questions. If your next search is “how old is she,” Google will be able to understand that you’re searching for Madonna’s age and return the correct answer: 54. Conversational search remembers your past searches and uses them for context to help interpret your follow-up searches.

Using voice search doesn’t quite feel natural when sitting at your desktop – truth is, I felt a little silly asking Google to tell me Madonna’s name when I have perfectly good fingers willing to type out a simple Google search query. Occasionally, Google would mishear my question, and even more frequently, conversational search would fail to correctly make the connection between the prior search and the one actively being attempted. It honestly feels less like a search shortcut and more like a gimmick that's still under construction.

Google's conversational search is free to use and available for Mac, Windows, and Linux users of the Chrome browser.


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