Society has gotten to the point where typing is just too laborious an activity. So now we've resorted to talking to our laptops, smartphones and tablets to perform basic functions, like surfing the web. We all know it's only a matter of time before we become like Joaquin Phoenix's character in Her and have intimate heart-to-hearts with our gadgets.
Though we're not there yet, people are using the voice functionality of their devices to do some pretty weird and unexpected stuff. A study commissioned by Google on how people use voice search was released today, and from it we've learned more than we ever wanted to know about how people use voice search.
The study looked at how teens and adults use Google's voice search as well as other voice recognition software, such as Apple's Siri and Microsoft's Cortana. Google commissioned Northstar Research to conduct the study. The global consulting firm asked 400 teens between the ages of 13 and 18 and 1,000 adults aged 18 and older about their voice search habits on their smartphones.
Apparently, 22 percent of teens have for some reason admitted to using voice search while in the bathroom. When you're in the age group that uses voice search most often, you're not going to let a quick pit stop to the restroom stop you from talking to your smartphone. The study found that 55 percent of teens ages 13 to 18 use hands-free search every day, compared to 41 percent of adults.
"We found that for teens, voice search comes as naturally as checking social media and they're getting very creative about how (and where) they use it," Google's Vice President for Conversational Search Scott Huffman said in a statement.
Very creative, indeed. I guess teens are just being hygienic in not using their hands, right? But wouldn't flushing make it difficult for Siri to understand you? I have so many questions about this.
Unsurprisingly, teens also really want voice search to send them pizza. Don't we all? In response to the question, "pick one thing you wish you could ask your phone to do for you," 45 percent of teens chose "send me a pizza." Boring adults chose the boring answer "tell me where my keys are" to the tune of 44 percent, but 36 percent of adults showed that they still have some fun in them by also saying they would like voice search to send them pizzas. Teens and adults seem to agree that it would be awesome if voice search could tell them where their TV remote went with 34 percent and 33 percent of respondents, respectively.
Perhaps the strangest finding — or saddest, I can't decide — is that 51 percent of teens and 32 percent of adults said they use voice search "just for fun." That means people really have nothing better to do than talk to their smartphones. Maybe that distant, fictional future where we actually have relationships with our smartphones is now.