Nov 3, 2018
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Google enquires SMBs if they will receive calls from the Google assistant

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Google is asking the owners of My Business Profiles if they are willing to accept “Google Assistant calls,” in what seems to be a single market test. It can mean any one of the two important things: 1) let the customers use Google assistant for booking appointments and reservations, and 2) let Google Assistant confirm the facts about the business. The acceptance is getting checked by default.

Duplex unbound

The company demoed Duplex at the I/O conference in May and that makes Duplex unbound the next step of the process. Duplex is a phone-based, AI-powered system that helps to book appointments with the local businesses that do not have facilities for online scheduling of interviews. The demo was very impressive and natural to sound. You will get multiple recorded examples on the blog post of the company announcing Duplex.

Google Assistant

During the developer conference, some of the Google executives working on Duplex were asked about how local businesses will be introduced to the capabilities and the ethical implication of a machine that sounds so natural. The executives were not yet ready to discuss the issues at that time but they mentioned that those issues are under consideration.

Being comfortable with calls from robot

This is probably the way in which Google will begin socializing Google Assistant/Duplex-business owner interaction. Some people might feel uncomfortable in speaking to a robot but many of the business owners actually like the advanced verification system or the facility that it can bring for the collection of extra details about the businesses with a bit of work at their end.

An initial challenge for the Google Assistant can be making some of the categories of small businesses to answer the call, especially in a scenario where the scam and spam calls are on the rise. The business categories where the Assistant is most likely to make the calls are those in which phone interactions are vital to the transaction.

A law in California that comes into effect in July, 2019 demands the companies using bots for communications with the consumers to declare that these are machines and not people talking to them. The disclosures provided to customers in such cases must be reasonably designed, conspicuous, and clear. A disclosure in the screen above is not enough to abide by the rule.

The implications for the marketers

The idea of using human-sounding, AI-generated bots to make calls and interact with people on the phone has significant implication for sales, marketing, legal system, and analytics. Think of a time when telemarketing will be carried out by human-sounding robots capable of responding to and hearing what people are saying.

Though there are certain aspects of concern in this case, there are also positives for the business owners and consumers. And it is not long before business owners get bots with voice-enabling on their own to get calls from Google assistant and consumers.

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