The report, citing interviews with seven software companies that provide schedule data to Google, reported that the service Reserve with Google has seen a lot of demand from new customers — 75 percent of bookings are coming from new customers. With the service, consumers don’t have to pick up the phone to make an appointment. If you are looking for, say, a haircut at a specific time in close proximity to your home, Google will display nearby businesses that let you book and even pay without having to make a phone call or go to the company’s website.
The service appears to be taking off because it is convenient for consumers. For business owners, Reuters reported it is giving them access to potentially new customers. People familiar with the matter told Reuters the service will be expanded to Google Assistant, the company’s voice-activated smart speaker, later this year. Customers will be able to make appointments using voice command — something that Alexa and Siri, the competing digital voice activated assistants, can’t do yet. Google Assistant will even place calls to business to make the bookings when there is no option to book through Reserve. Reuters noted that Google doesn’t charge for the service and has yet to let partners know how it is making money off of it. But it could result in more advertising with Google if it is bringing more business to a company, noted the report. In order to make Reserve happen, Google inked deals with 25 software companies, giving it a feed of schedules from thousands of shops around the globe. Most are focused on health, beauty, and dining. Google doesn’t pay for the data, noted the report.
Google isn’t alone in the online booking market. Amazon Home Services, for example, will schedule all sorts of services, including TV installers, landscapers and other services focused on the home. Facebook’s Instagram unit inked deals with 11 of the schedulers that Google uses, and Yelp said its list of businesses that customers can book with is growing. Google may have an edge, though, thanks to the eventual integration with Google Assistant, noted the report.