Report: Voice Searches 3X More Likely To Be Local

Chitika has just published some very interesting data about voice search on the iPhone. Google CEO Eric Schmidt recently said that about 25 percent of queries on Android devices are voice-initiated. That’s an unexpectedly large percentage.

By comparison Chitika’s research director Dan Ruby said that he found about 7 percent of Google searches on the iPhone are voice searches. Interestingly he also said that voice searches are “three times more likely to be looking for local results” than searches on Google’s browser site or text-entered queries on the Google iPhone app.

Here’s the comparison of local queries using voice and text on the Google app:

Local Searches - Voice vs Non Voice

I spoke to Ruby about this and we speculated about why voice search might be more locally oriented. We discussed that many of these queries are likely coming from in the car when people are driving. That makes lots of sense because it’s “hands free.”

Much of mobile directory assistance is directed toward business name searches while people are driving. And almost all of that query volume to traditional 411 is local. So the relative proportion of local and non-local queries in the chart above makes sense by analogy (if the in-car voice-search assumption is true).

Here’s more detail on the category breakdown: text vs. voice search on Google’s iPhone app:

Categories - Google App Search

Categories - Google Voice Search

Ruby told me that next he would “dig into Android” and report back. It will be interesting to see whether this 3X local bias holds up on Android as well, given the higher proportion of voice searches on that platform.

Chitika operates a local and recently launched mobile ad network.

Related Topics: Channel: Mobile | Google: Maps & Local | Google: Mobile | Google: Voice Search


About The Author: is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes a personal blog Screenwerk, about SoLoMo issues and connecting the dots between online and offline. He also posts at Internet2Go, which is focused on the mobile Internet. Follow him @gsterling.

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