VoiSeR: A new benchmark for voice-based search refinement
Voice assistants, e.g., Alexa or Google Assistant, have dramatically improved in recent years. Supporting voice-based search, exploration, and refinement are fundamental tasks for voice assistants, and remain an open challenge. For example, when using voice to search an online shopping site, a user often needs to refine their search by some aspect or facet. This common user intent is usually available through a “filter-by” interface on online shopping websites, but is challenging to support naturally via voice, as the intent of refinements must be interpreted in the context of the original search, the initial results, and the available product catalogue facets. To our knowledge, no benchmark dataset exists for training or validating such contextual search understanding models. To bridge this gap, we introduce the first large-scale dataset of voice-based search refinements, VoiSeR, consisting of about 10,000 search refinement utterances, collected using a novel crowdsourcing task. These utterances are intended to refine a previous search, with respect to a search facet or attribute (e.g., brand, color, review rating, etc.), and are manually annotated with the specific intent. This paper reports qualitative and empirical insights into the most common and challenging types of refinements that a voice-based conversational search system must support. As we show, VoiSeR can support research in conversational query understanding, contextual user intent prediction, and other conversational search topics to facilitate the development of conversational search systems.