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Illustration: Rebecca Zisser / Axios

Voice hardware and software took center stage at the Consumer Electronics Show last week, further proving that audio as a medium presents enormous opportunity for publishers and brands.

Why it matters: The Internet of Things is connecting life in unprecedented ways, from health care to home entertainment to transportation. At the center of user adoption and functionality of these new connected-devices is voice, not video.

  • "I think we should all obsess about voice," says GE CMO Linda Boff on Adlandia's podcast. "It almost reminds me of the early days of search and domain and what do you stand for."
  • "Voice is also challenging for brands. What's the role for a brand if visual is stripped down? I don't think it will be binary. I don't think everything will go to voice, but to me that's what we (as brands) should be focused on."

The pivot to voice comes at a time when short-form video as a means of audience development is taking a nosedive.

  • Facebook is changing its algorithm to lower the rankings of videos and content from publishers and brands.
  • YouTube, the largest video distributor globally by far, continues to battle brand safety issues, from terrorism to pornography.
  • User engagement for posts with short video is significantly less than short-form posts, slideshows and long-form posts, according to a Parse.ly study of premium publisher video on social.

To Boff's point, there is a striking similarity in the early days of voice vs. early days of search.

  • 30% of web browsing will be done via voice by 2020, according to the technology research firm Gartner. Presumably, a large chunk of those search commands could be monetized.
  • The U.S. search ad market is expected to grow to $45 billion by 2019.

The biggest differentiator between voice and text search is that Amazon is the company that is powering the voice search market, not Google. (Although Google's massive voice-activated gum-ball machine at CES shows it's an area they are pushing to win).

Go deeper

CCP releases two jailed Canadians after Huawei CFO deal with DOJ

Photo: Sheldon Cooper/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Two Canadians imprisoned by the Chinese government for over 1,000 days have been released and are expected to arrive in Canada on Saturday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday.

Why it matters: Their release comes hours after Huawei Technologies CFO Meng Wanzhou reached a deal with the U.S. Department of Justice that resolves the criminal charges against her and could pave the way for her to return to China.

Updated 20 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Arizona GOP's private recount of 2020 election confirms Biden's win

Contractors working on behalf of the GOP examine and recount 2020 ballots at Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix in May. Photo: Courtney Pedroza/Getty Images

In an odd coda to the 2020 election, private contractors conducting a GOP-commissioned recount in Arizona confirmed President Biden’s win in Maricopa County.

Why it matters: The unofficial, party-driven recount has been heavily covered on cable news as part of former President Trump's continued effort to sow doubt about the election result.

Del Rio bridge camp empty following Haitian migrant surge

A boy bathes himself in a jug of water inside a migrant camp at the U.S.-Mexico border on Sept. 21 in Del Rio, Texas. Photo: John Moore/Getty Images

The last migrants camping under the Del Rio International Bridge, which connects Texas and Mexico, departed on Friday, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas announced during a White House press briefing.

Driving the news: Thousands of migrants, mostly from Haiti, had arrived to the makeshift camp after crossing the southern border seeking asylum. Roughly 1,800 migrants will now head to U.S. Customs and Border Protection processing centers.