Some of Google Inc.’s products and services are already pretty good at dealing with queries spoken in plain English. We no longer have to type our searches into Google, for example, we can just ask for it and get the answers we need. We can also tell our smartphones to find the fastest route to our destination while traveling and they will quickly display a map with GPS instructions.
Now, the company is bringing this natural-language ability to its Google Analytics service. As of Tuesday, Google Analytics users can say rather than type queries such as “new users from January 1 to May 7” and the service will immediately display that information. It can also handle more advanced questions, throwing up various charts and graphs offering visual displays for all kinds of web traffic metrics.
In order to use Google Analytics’ new natural voice capabilities, users click on the Intelligence button that opens up a side panel. In the mobile app for Android and iOS, there’s a new Intelligence icon in the upper right-hand corner that can be clicked on to activate the feature.
Google is adding natural language queries as part of a new set of Analysis Intelligence tools that leverage machine learning systems to help users better understand their website data. Google said it added the new feature after realizing that even some of the most basic information in its Analytics tools was not easily discoverable for many users.
“We’ve talked to web analysts who say they spend half their time answering basic analytics questions for other people in their organization,” said Anissa Alusi, a Google Analytics product manager, in a blog post. “In fact, a recent report from Forrester found that 57 percent of marketers find it difficult to give their stakeholders in different functions access to their data and insights. Asking questions in Analytics Intelligence can help everyone get their answers directly in the product.”
Some of the other Analysis Intelligence tools include automated insights, smart goals, smart lists and session quality. With regard to the automated insights, this will deliver more information to mobile users that was previously only available to desktop users, Google said.
The company said the new features, including natural language processing, are being rolled out now and will be available to users all over the world within the next few weeks. Here’s a short video from Google demonstrating how it works: