Google leveraging Duplex to check and update store inventory

Google Duplex’s flashiest capability lets it book appointments on your behalf. However, Google is also leveraging the Duplex conversation technology to update store hours, and now check inventory.

With the launch of the latest Assistant developer tools this week, Google revealed that it has used Duplex to “contact businesses and update over half a million business listings.” In recent months, this has helped Maps and Search show modified store hours and pick-up/delivery information.

Google today updated its My Business support page (via Android Police) to note how Duplex calls are now also used to inquire about the “status of in-demand inventory.” This falls under the “checking business information” use of the conversational tech that can naturally interact with real people.

Back in April, Google started using Duplex to update listings in Australia, Canada, Spain, and the UK after initial availability in the US and New Zealand. Amid COVID-19 restrictions, it’s a useful way to make sure customers have accurate information before visiting, while having details correctly displayed on Google could reduce the number of calls a business has to answer.

The system makes sure not to contact during early morning or night hours, and Google says Assistant will only call after a customer request. That said, this could lead to increased Duplex usage.

Checking store inventory with Duplex comes as Google announced this week that Search’s Shopping tab now surfaces local store information, including item availability and fulfillment options (delivery, curbside, etc).

Meanwhile, Duplex is also available on the web to automate the process of getting movie tickets.

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