Google Voice Actions: Novelty or The Next Logical Step in Banking?
My Google G1 phone has supported voice actions for quite a while. I tell my phone to search for a UPS shipping site, and it brings up a list of places that ship UPS in my area. I tell my phone to call Andy and it dials my brother.
The latest version of Android (code named Froyo and not available on my G1) takes voice actions to another level. With Google Voice, you can send text messages, play a song, get directions, call a business, look for a location on the map, bring up a website, write a note, and search – all without using the keyboard.
What do Voice Actions have to do with Financial Institutions? Right now, not much. But, the future of Google Voice Actions just may be the next logical step in mobile banking.
The evolution of banking has largely been driven by convenience. Banks build more branches to make it more convenient for more people to access their money. ATM’s revolutionized convenient access to money.
Call Centers allow you to check balances without ever leaving your couch. Internet Banking lets you check balances, transfer funds, and pay bills without requiring any interaction with bank employees. With mobile banking, you can check balances, transfer funds, and pay bills while waiting in line at the super market.
What could be more convenient than mobile banking? Voice activated mobile banking perhaps? Google plans on opening up its Voice API to third party applications. Imagine driving to dinner and asking your phone to transfer some extra money to your checking account to make sure you won’t have to pay the overdraft fees you opted in to.
What if Voice Actions could be used to provide additional mobile banking security features? A mobile banking application could require that you speak a keyword before you can access your account information on your phone. Perhaps future Voice Action features will support voice recognition. Not only would mobile banking security require a spoken keyword, but it would authenticate that the keyword is spoken by the owner of the account.
To some, voice actions may seem like overkill. Is asking my phone for a balance on my account really that much easier than texting for the balance? That depends on whether or not you are better at remembering text commands or voice commands. It’s definitely safer to use voice command banking while driving than it is to use text based banking. However, potential car accidents are not what most worries people about mobile banking. Financial Information theft is what really worries people. If Voice Actions can mitigate the risks involved with mobile banking, then it might just be the next logic step in the evolution of banking convenience.