A recent eWeek.com article quotes a Yahoo spokesperson as saying that Yahoo is evaluating the potential of voice search. As Charlene Li, an analyst with Forrester, also comments on her blog, calls placed via VoIP can be recorded today using existing shareware and then run through speech recognition software, transferred into data and then indexed by say, Google’s desktop search.
Imagine the ability to search the spoken as well as written word - it offers enormous potential. For corporates, the days of the meeting minute taker could be numbered. And voice search could simplify compliance with those existing legal and regulatory requirements (e.g. Sarbanes-Oxley) requiring the retention of call records. Voice search does raise a number of possible privacy issues. For example, individuals are unlikely to want private conversations to end up being searchable on the web.
If these concerns are overcome and voice search becomes a technical reality, it could open an exciting new chapter in search.