Soon, Google Assistant/Duplex could actually call local businesses to check for inventory availability.

First noticed by Android Police, the notification appears on a support page mostly about appointment booking through Duplex: “Google Assistant will only call you when a customer wants to book an appointment or when it needs to check your business hours or the status of in-demand inventory.”

A few months ago, Google said that it would be using the technology behind Duplex to call local businesses and update or confirm hours and perhaps other factual information. Right now, it’s not very clear how effective and widespread this has been.

What is also unclear is how successful Duplex might be getting through to a small business retailer since there are some who don’t pick up the phone. Google’s CallJoy virtual agent was made to help compensate for phone-phobic SMBs. This has the same technology powering Duplex to assist SMBs capture more phone leads.

According to a recent Google blog post, “Searches for ‘in-stock’ grew more than 70 percent globally from the week of March 28 to April 4, as consumers sought to avoid ecommerce shipping delays.”

Google has been really emphasizing real-time inventory availability, such as promoting curbside pickup and “pick up today” availability in Shopping Ads.

There are a lot of shoppers who don’t want to change going into a store and finding out that the item they’re looking for isn’t there. Before, it was certainly an inconvenience, but now that there’s the added chance of getting infected, it’s a good idea to avoid situations like that.

SourceGreg Sterling