Since having a baby last year, I now consider the ability to do something ‘hands-free’ as a major time-management hack.
Phone calls exist almost exclusively hands-free now, either on speaker or headset while I’m folding washing, cooking dinner, signing for a courier delivery or driving to a speaking engagement. Multitasking has become an extreme sport.
So when the Google Home was released in Australia last year, I jumped on the chance to interact with the Internet hands free.
The Google Home what is basically an oversized, room-scale, always-listening microphone and speaker. It can pick up your voice from the other side of a medium-sized living space whenever you say the words ‘OK Google or ‘Hey Google’ which is the device’s trigger to respond to whatever command follows. You’re then interacting with the Google Assistant and you’re able to ask it a question or issue a command in natural language and, in most cases, get an immediate response.
Apart from commanding Google Home to react to fun, everyday commands like playing music, advising the weather forecast and other important stuff like finding out how many husbands Elizabeth Taylor had, it is essentially a shopping assistant, replacing how you would normally search on a desktop of device. For example, I recently asked Google to search for flights from Brisbane to Honolulu in November. After ascertaining my return date, my Google Home advised the price of the cheapest flight for my dates. Within ten seconds the details were sent to my Gmail and two days later it sent me a price update for that flight route.
Woolworths recently launched their Google Assistant driven app for home delivery groceries. If you have a Google Home it’s now possible to compile a progressive shopping list, choose a delivery time and pay for your groceries without touching a single thing.
(To a single mum of a toddler, the words ‘hands-free grocery shopping from home’ is like a phrase from the gods).
It seems that V-Tailing – voice-activated search and selection – is the future of search and is already capturing a growing segment of online shopping. Amazon have just launched their equivalent – the Amazon Echo – in Australia, enabling consumers to have a direct, immediate, hands-free connection to any Amazon product with same day shipping.
And while the Google Home and the Amazon Echo may not have a direct impact on your business, what they are doing is creating a convenience of immediacy with consumers and driving the expectation around the customer experience.
Seamless, frictionless transactions are starting to become the norm rather than the exception and if you’re not looking at ways to make your customer experience easy, smooth and fast, your brand will quickly lose the battle for relevance — particularly if you target busy multitasking mums.
PS: If you own a Google Home, here’s a list of 57 unique things you can ask it.