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Older Generations More Likely to Use Voice Search, Suggesting a Solution to Generational Digital Divide

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Sixty-Four Percent (64%) of Voice Search Users Ages 55+ Use Voice Search to Look for Information, Products, and Services Online, Compared to 47% of Voice Search Users Ages 18-34, Suggesting That Voice Can Make Technology More Accessible to Older Populations

Voice search can benefit older users who may struggle to type or use a mouse, indicating how the technology can help bridge the digital divide, suggests a new survey report from The Manifest, a business news and how-to website.

More than half (64%) of voice technology users ages 55+ use voice to search for information, products, and services online, compared to slightly fewer users ages 34-54 (63%) and only 47% of users ages 18-34.

“The way we engage with most technology is tactile and visual,” said Matt Smith, CEO of Speak 2 Software, a company that offers voice-enabled smart speakers to assisted living centers for seniors. “These are challenges for someone losing their sight or motor skills … With voice technology, the user interface is now manageable and easy to adopt.”

Voice technology reduces the obstacles that once stood in the way of older generations’ ability to use technology and can improve their quality of life.

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Voice Search Users Interact with Technology Regularly

More than half (53%) of people who use voice search use the technology at least once a week, suggesting that once users get used to this new form of searching, they’re likely to keep coming back to it.

Voice-enabled technology represents the future of how internet users will search for information and interact with their digital devices.

John Foster, CEO of Aiqudo, an AI startup based in California, thinks that in 2020, even more people will start to use voice search as the technology improves.

“I think by the end of 2020, we will have seen that tipping point where more searches are done with voice than [text-based queries],” Foster said. “Once it happens, people won’t go back.”

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Younger Voice Tech Users More Likely to Issue Commands

Younger voice technology users ages 18-34 are more likely to use voice technology for things other than searching for information.

Thirty percent (30%) of those ages 18-34 use voice technology to give commands (i.e., set alarm) compared to only 19% of voice technology users ages 35-54 and 16% ages 55+.

Experts, however, think that more people will begin using voice technology to tell their device to “do” something as technology improves.

“I think we’ll start to see a lot more applications around what Google would call ‘Go’ and ‘Do’ moments,” said Matthew Lang, strategy director at Rain Agency, a creative strategy agency in New York. “Things that are a little bit more sophisticated whether it’s picking up something at the grocery store, placing an order on the go, or giving commands.”

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