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Andreas Karlsson — 10/04/19

Voice control and domain names

For those of us who grew up with the sci-fi films of the 80s, controlling our surroundings with our voice was the stuff of dreams. Well, here we are – the future has arrived! It’s true that we don’t have flying cars yet, but who knows, perhaps they’re just around the corner. But first, let's focus on voice control and domain names!

Voice control has genuinely broken through in recent years and, if you listen to the experts, it’s going to continue growing. So, for those of you that like to keep up with digital trends, it’s a subject to keep an eye on.

The voice control phenomenon is all about making everyday technology easier to use. The idea is that we can free ourselves from writing and even from using our hands – a big help in our mobile society where we’re so often on the move. Another benefit is that it can make life a lot easier for people with writing difficulties.

Obviously, voice technology could potentially put you in uncomfortable situations – you might not want to search for a prescription on your chemist’s website while you’re in a busy public place. There are times when you’ll probably prefer to type the details the old-fashioned way.

Since 2011, all iPhone users have been able to talk to their own ‘virtual assistant’, Siri (the service became available in Swedish in 2015).

However, ”Hey Siri” has recently been overtaken by ”OK, Google”, both here in Sweden and throughout the world.

Google Assistant relies heavily on machine learning and brings together leading-edge voice technology with the functionality of Google products such as Search, YouTube, Maps and Calendar.

According to a report from analysis company Bernstein, Google paid Apple $3 billion US dollars in 2017 to be the default search engine for Siri on iPhones and iPads. There are reports that they now pay even more. The motive for Google wanting to be the automatic search option on iPhones is that the search giant gets nearly 50% of its mobile earnings from there.


How does it work?

Virtual assistants’ functionality and personality will be customized for the Swedish market, so that they can do everything from singing along to Swedish songs to understanding that weather is a serious topic of conversation for us Swedes.

More and more Swedish companies are investing in functions that interact with voice apps.  H&M Home, ICA, Scandinavian Airlines, SJ and Sveriges Radio have all launched services that work alongside Google Assistant.

It’s not just Apple and Google driving voice command technology. In the US and UK, e-shopping giant Amazon’s voice control system Alexa is common in many homes, and offerings such as Microsoft’s Cortana and Samsung’s Bixby are becoming more popular.

You can also use voice commands to choose the music you listen to. With Apple’s Siri you can control the music when you’re driving, for example – although you are limited to Apple Music. With Google Assistant you have the advantage of accessing multiple music services, including Spotify. In order to become more self-sufficient and less dependent on other apps, Spotify have confirmed that they are testing their own voice-user interface, albeit one with a limited set of commands.

Samsung Electronics have a range of fridges, Family Hub, that are fitted with voice technology. Users can apparently use voice commands to get information about the weather, put items on their shopping list and order items over the internet. The goal is to create an interactive digital noticeboard for better family communications.

It’s going to be exciting to see which companies jump on the trend next.

In the second part of Voice Control we will explain why you should keep these things in mind when you chose your domain names.

Voice Control and choosing a domain name

We usually say that you should think of “the radio test” when choosing a domain name. “The radio test” is about making sure that a listener could understand and spell a domain name if they heard it on the radio (or in conversation or over the phone). People should be able to hear how your domain is spelled.

Here’s an example of how a radio advert should not sound:

“Don’t forget to visit us at www.xtravanganzza.com…by the way we spell extravaganza with two z’s and no e“.

Clearly the owner has messed up their choice of domain.

The name is not going to work because the listener can’t easily find their website or understand what the company is all about. Another tip is to avoid using letters outside the English language – å, ä and ö for example.

Today it is also important to think about the role of voice control when you choose your domain.

Communicating with virtual assistants – Siri, Alexa, Google Assistant etc. – is important and will become even more relevant in the future. It’s absolutely vital that you pay attention to it.

Three tips on how to get the most out of your brand will be to choose a domain name that is easy to:

  • Spell
  • Understand when listening
  • Pronounce



Good to know: In Sweden, the default settings for virtual assistants normally favor domains that end with .se.