Is the future of the internet in our ears rather than our hands? That’s the question many tech experts are now pondering as a result of the growing popularity of voice devices. Led by Amazon’s Echo but assisted by Windows’ Cortana and Apple’s Siri, voice technology is now starting to creep into our lives in more and more ways.
Indeed, unlike our laptops and mobile devices where hand dexterity is crucial, voice devices simply listen to our commands and then pump the necessary information into our ears. Although the technology is still in its infancy, experts are predicting that voice technology could soon rival other internet-enabled mediums because it allows us to navigate the web in a more efficient way.
Online Games Need Some Touch
However, if this is to be the case, then many of our current online pastimes would have to change. For example, the way we entertain ourselves would have to shift from touch to voice. A game like Angry Birds is based almost entirely on touch as you’re forced to negotiate ever tougher obstacles in a bid to progress to the next level.
If USA Today’s assertion that “Smartphones grip over our every moment might be slowly loosening”, then games like Angry Birds would either have to change completely or fall out of favour with the masses.
The same could be said for online casino-style games. The industry is now worth more than $45 billion and part of its popularity is the medium’s convenience. Instead of having to dress up and drive to a local casino, you can power up your computer or mobile and play Vegas-style games likes slots, blackjack and roulette.
If we look at the some of the operators using the services of Microgaming, NetEnt and Playtech software, we’ll see that every game has been designed to include some element of touch and, moreover, interaction.
For example, if you’re in the market for mega jackpots, then the casino games available Novibet casino give you the ability to win six-figure sums from a tiny stake. Novitech has virtually every casino game on the site, from Gonzo’s Quest to Hot Spin that are designed to be ergonomic for both online and mobile users.
Can We Be Social Without Browsing?
The same is also true of social media. Although the current system of scrolling through Facebook timelines or Twitter feeds might be somewhat cumbersome, it’s difficult to see how voice technology like Amazon’s Echo could change that.
There is the possibility of simply calling on the system to find the latest status from a certain person, but the main premise behind every social media site is that you can browse through a network of people to find things that interest you.
Perhaps this is the biggest downfall of voice devices at the moment. While the systems might be able to call up specific information in an instant, they seem to fall short when it comes to satisfying our need for options. Not only that, but many online games, especially on mobiles, are designed to be tactile.
For example, it would be entirely possible to control a virtual slot machine with the word “spin”. However, this dynamic would create a disconnect between the player and the game and that could take something away from the enjoyment.
Voice Devices Could be the Future, But Not Yet
Finally, the other issue with voice devices is the lack of privacy. When you call on a system like Echo to find some information, the software broadcasts the results to anyone within earshot. Although this may not be a problem in most cases, there are times when privacy is vital.
Therefore, while there’s no doubt that voice devices will gradually start to erode the dominance of smartphones with regards to online browsing, it’s unlikely they will completely take control of our lives any time soon.