When it doubt, Google it: a mantra most modern Americans live by. When things go wrong at home — the dishwasher breaks, the dryer goes on strike or a carpenter is just sorely needed — most consumers’ first step in solving the problem is going to Google to find the person they need.
The problem, Google has realized, is that even within one trade area, experts are likely to have different areas of interest or ability. The carpenter you need specializes in finish work; the house needs exterior but not interior painting; the ideal dog walker for you specializes in large breeds because you have two Irish Wolfhounds. Google wants to save users the step of calling all the “close, but no cigar” professionals to more quickly get them in touch with the right person.
The tool Google is using to make those searches better will be its Google Assistant. Ask for a plumber — instead of a mere list of names, the artificial intelligence (AI) will instead return a list of potential problems its user might be having. Once the need is registered — and after Google confirms where you live — it gives the user two choices. Either the user can request that an eligible and qualified local service provider call them, or Google can generate a call list for its user.
All of those functions can be achieved without the user ever leaving Google Assistant.
The feature, according to Google, will be hitting the market over the next few weeks. In some cities, the Assistant will suggest services that have already been pre-screened by Google — as well as by firms like HomeAdvisor and Porch, so that users can feel confident that Google isn’t sending just anyone over to their home.
It remains to be seen how well it works, of course, but if the people at Google can make it easier for a harried person in desperate need of a plumber to actually get one? They might just be on to something.