In 2018 two types of search will dramatically change the way we will search on-line in the future, with many consumers using image-based and voice activated search for the first time, it is estimated that 50 percent of all search will be done using these two by 2020. 

These two types of search are dramatically changing the way that we will be searching on-line in the future, voice search and photo-shopping. Companies that integrate these trends into their digital strategies could be richly rewarded.


As image analysis automation becomes standard in mobile devices, consumers will be able to take a picture of an object then search for that exact product or a similar one.

Businesses that are implementing this technology now:



eBays visual search tools allow users to use their own photos they snap, have saved on their phone, or even those they find while browsing the web or other social networking sites, to run an eBay search for similar products on ebay. The tools, Image Search and Find it on eBay, leverage advancements in computer vision and deep learning, including the use of neural networks, the company notes.


The mobile app backed by Kim Kardashian, ScreenShop, consumers can now easily shop the looks they love on social media, online and on the street by taking a picture or screenshot, which is then converted to similar, shoppable items at a variety of price points and retailers.

Pinterest has invested heavily in visual search technology in order to turn the smartphone camera into a search engine for products.


The American based retailer will integrate Pinterest’s visual search technology – Lens – enabling shoppers to snap a photo of any product, and then find similar items available at Target.

Top tip: Focus on quality and multiplicity of images of your products as language is no longer a barrier to discovery, nor is product name or incorrect or unknown attributes.

Voice search


Voice search has been around for years, with the likes of Apple’s Siri, but is now becoming a house hold member with the launch of Amazons Echo, better known as Alexa. 

The shift to voice search and voice communication will make some things more convenient for us, but will also dramatically reduce our choices. The reason for this is simplefewer results will be “spoken back to us”, because humans cannot absorb 10 results in succession and adequately choose between them. This switch in information quality may have profound implications, and voice search can undermine our purchasing choices in subtle ways.

For example, the response to “I want to find a pizza place in town,” the search yield might not show the pizza restaurant that is the best in town, but rather the business that has bought its spot in the search results. And when asking Alexa to add a product you’re your shopping cart, we are giving Amazon the choice which product gets added. Some food for thought don’t you think, maybe another reason to be listed on Amazon.

Top tip:  Optimise your Google My Business listings, include your name, address, phone numbers, and other relevant data in your on-page content and if you haven’t already, list your products on Amazon.