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The Google Duplex Future Is Crazier Than We Thought


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AI-powered voice assistants, which are now ubiquitous in every smart phone, TV, and in-home speaker, have blurred the line between man and machine in a way we used to see only in sci-fi movies.

What does this mean for all the businesses, devices, and brands we interact with everyday—and more important— what are the sales and marketing implications of this brave new world?

Published in: Marketing

The Google Duplex Future Is Crazier Than We Thought

  1. 1. The Google Duplex Future by David Card, CEO at C42D
  2. 2. Hey Siri Alexa Google... It seems like I’m asking to help me out more and more recently. I wonder what that means for all the businesses, devices, and brands I interact with everyday? “ ”
  3. 3. Ok, Google, not only do I ask you to help me around the house, do some shopping, and read me the news, but I noticed you’re also getting better at helping me find restaurants to eat at, things to do around town, and places to do business with. You’re getting smarter—it’s almost like you’re one of us now. We’ve become fast friends.
  4. 4. We’ve always used computers to execute tasks. Those interactions have been two-way— a computer helped us get something done by us giving it a series of commands until we achieved the result—but the communication used to be non-verbal. But now, our interactions with computers have become truly conversational.
  5. 5. More and more, people are legitimately speaking to their digital devices, and our devices are intelligently listening and responding to us. AI-powered voice assistants, which are now ubiquitous in every smart phone, TV, and in- home speaker, have blurred the line between man and machine in a way we used to see only in sci-fi movies. Folks are using voice assistants to complete home chores, give them news and information, and, increasingly, to perform searches.
  6. 6. In many ways, “Ask Alexa” has replaced “Google it”
  7. 7. While voice assistants have marked a change in our relationship with computers from interaction to conversation, Google Duplex promises a tectonic shift.
  8. 8. Revealed at the recent Google I/O conference to rapturous praise, Google’s new AI tool promises a leap from entertaining spectacle to practical, everyday use. Duplex mimics human speech better than any other AI- powered voice assistant, complete with lifelike verbal crutches and fillers like “um” and “uh.”
  9. 9. The consumer benefit to Google Duplex is clear: It’s going to be a true personal assistant, able to handle communications around making appointments, reservations, and certain purchases. The implications on the brand side are fascinating.
  10. 10. 58% of consumers have used voice search for information on a local business. One could be forgiven for thinking that big businesses are the ones who need to be prepared for a Duplex- driven future. But we already know that, in the last year, That’s perhaps why the I/O demo featured a Duplex-powered AI assistant making a hair salon appointment and a restaurant reservation over the phone.
  11. 11. According to Google, voice searches are 30x more more likely than typed searches to be “action queries”.
  12. 12. That is, instead of a more open-ended search like “Italian restaurants near me”, a voice search is likelier to be akin to “make a reservation at an Italian Restaurant near me”.
  13. 13. That means that when consumers are utilizing voice search, they’re already a bit further along the customer journey to making an actual purchase.
  14. 14. Marketing is all about driving sales, purchases, and conversions. Even though Duplex may bring consumers closer to conversion, it won’t necessarily make marketing any easier.
  15. 15. When people are conducting action queries, they’re to be browsing at various options, rendering paid search campaigns less effective. less likely
  16. 16. Even more concerning is the fact that voice search almost completely eliminates browsing altogether. Although new voice assistants with screens like Amazon’s Echo Show and Google Home Hub may close this gap.
  17. 17. While there are exceptions, there isn’t much opportunity for a marketer to vault to the top of a voice search result. Even a generalized, open-ended voice search only has one first result, and the battle to get that result will be fierce. A future dominated by screenless interactions is one that marketers–and in particular, small, local businesses, need to be prepared for.
  18. 18. But it’s not only consumers who will be utilizing Google Duplex in order to make certain tasksmore efficient.
  19. 19. Any business that relies on cold calling will doubtlessly find Duplex a valuable tool, able to complete more calls at a fraction of the cost, particularly when the technology becomes smart enough to require little human oversight. Duplex will also help companies who do research and conduct outbound inquiries, efficiently amassing great amounts of data or leads.
  20. 20. Many businesses will find uses for high-powered AI. It’s plausible to envision a future where the entire customer service sector is handled by by computers employing Duplex-like technology This could result in more seamless interactions between consumer and business, where sticky things like human emotions are eliminated.
  21. 21. The voice-search boom has changed the way brands approach consumer marketing, especially: • Optimizing for voice search algorithms • Being more culturally visible, and thus part of more conversations between consumers • Connecting the brand directly to benefits, so it becomes top of mind at the moment of purchase (let’s uber to the ball game)
  22. 22. A screenless future means that aspects like vocabulary, tone, and syntax are going to be baked into every company’s branding fabric, right alongside the logo, colors, and overall purpose. A brand’s voice must stand out, speak its consumers’ language, and fit seamlessly within the brand framework.
  23. 23. There’s much to be excited about when it comes to Google Duplex and advanced AI. It presents businesses and consumers the chance to streamline vital, and some mundane, daily tasks. It’s also just plain, well, cool. Anyone who watches Duplex converse with a restaurant host and book a reservation can’t help but be impressed.
  24. 24. But we’d be remiss if we didn’t point out some of the potential blowback that is sure to come as Duplex and similar technology takes hold. It’s one thing for people to ask the speaker in their home to play a certain song, or order some more paper towels, or turn the air conditioning on. But when a person’s AI-assistant makes a doctor’s appointment with the office’s AI-assistant?
  25. 25. Some may say that isn’t not much different from using a computer to make an appointment, however, there are certain to be those who view these types of interactions as a tipping point. Is a Duplex future one where technology begins to transition from merely helping us to replacing us? For decades, we have conversed with computers in order to complete tasks. Google Duplex points to a future where the computers do close to all the talking, with less and less need for us.
  26. 26. In conclusion, brands will have to be careful navigating a world where they outsource more of their customer interaction to smart machines. More than ever, brands will have to speak their customers’ language, tell a clear and compelling brand story, and stand out amongst the competition.
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