What is Google Duplex and How Will it Effect SEO?

Harry Hawkins 5th December 2018
 

If you didn’t know, Google Duplex is an experimental technology from Google and recently demoed at Google I/O. Expanding from a similar service that Amazon Alexa, Hey Siri and Google Assistant offer, Duplex takes voice assistants a step further and implements their capabilities in the real world, not like the real world at home, asking what the time is or a break down of your itinerary, like the real world real world. Google Duplex uses the Google Assistant and the demo at Google I/O showed a real life telephone call between a robot and an unsuspecting hair salon owner. The robot called and booked their ‘client’ an appointment and despite having objections thrown at them, handled it in a very human-like manner. The result was a successfully booked hair appointment and a hair salon owner that thought she just booked a client in to her schedule, without ever talking to a robot; full video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=znNe4pMCsD4

A bit more background

Google Duplex is an incredibly exciting project, but the ‘ethical’ rule comes into play here. Google Duplex is Artificial Intelligence at the end of the day; so there’s considerations that need to be taken into account. Firstly, are the set of rules that are at the forefront of any AI development (this may sound a bit like iRobot)- original laws made by Isaac Asimov, source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laws_of_robotics:

  1. A robot must never injure a human being or allow a human to come to harm through inaction.
  2. A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such an order conflicts with the first law.
  3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the second or first law.

Now, none of this actually applies to Google Duplex, except one law that was later added by Lyuden Dilov:

4. A robot must establish its identity as a robot in all cases.

This does apply to Google Duplex, and as you can see in the video, the hair salon owner was never made aware that she was talking to a robot; nor is it obvious as Google Duplex handled the call in a very anthropomorphic manner. People are rightly calling Google out on this, because the future is now, and we’ve seen a lot of movies where AI goes wrong.

Anyway, back to SEO

For now, Google Duplex seems focussed on domestic assistance and should the software (which is rolling out soon) work well, it will no doubt take up a large percentage share of voice searches. So if a user were to use Google Duplex to conduct a search, how can you ensure that your search result is the one that is found?

Well, the software is in very early stages of development, so to give you a sure answer would be difficult. In theory, the software would work similarly to voice search. If you don’t know, voice search is heavily reliant on two things:

  1. Content
  2. Markup Language

Content – The content of a website needs to be clear and concise. This way crawlers and AI can understand the content as easily as possible and match it as closely as possible to voice searches.

Markup Language – I’m referring mainly to Schema Markup here. This Markup language is literally to markup text and explain to crawlers what the text means. To see this sort of language in action take a look at our Facebook page result on Google.

Notice the 5 stars and rating of 4.8 over 47 votes. Google finds this information through marked up language and understands out of 47 Votes there’s a rating of 4.8. I personally haven’t asked my Amazon Alexa what Dental Design’s Facebook rating is; if I did she probably wouldn’t know, but, this is what developers are workign towards and Schema Markup is helping with that.

 

 

 

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