Wednesday, May 15, 2019

How to opt out of automated Google Assistant calls to your business - The Verge

How to opt out of automated Google Assistant calls to your business - The Verge

How to opt out of automated Google Assistant calls to your business - The Verge

Posted: 14 May 2019 08:31 AM PDT

Somewhat buried in a piece I recently wrote about how restaurants have been experiencing Google Duplex — the voice-calling AI that makes reservations on a customer's behalf — is how the company automatically opts businesses into receiving these types of robocalls if they have a Google business page. While this might be fun for you if you're interested in hearing what Google Duplex's strikingly human AI sounds like, you may not want to participate in Google's machine learning initiative without expressed consent.

Google says its AI may call businesses to make and confirm reservations or inquire about business hours. If, for whatever reason, you want to opt out of receiving calls from Google Assistant, here's how to ensure you're blocking these particular robocalls.

  • The first way to ensure you aren't opt into any Google shenanigans is to not have a Google My Business page in the first place. That can sometimes be a difficult choice, as people are increasingly using search and Google Maps to discover businesses and read reviews, so not managing a page through the company means potentially missing out in other areas.
  • If the above doesn't apply, then access your Google My Business page. If you don't currently have a Google My Business page, then go to to claim your business by searching for the name or address, and verify your ownership.
  • Depending on the type of business you own, you may be able to verify it by phone or Google will send a piece of mail to the business address for you to use to complete verification. (Note that the latter process may take several days.)
  • Once you've got ownership of your Google My Business page, log in to the dashboard. On the left menu bar, click "Info." This will open up details about your business on the right side, such as name, address, hours, and service areas.
  • Over on the far right side, open the tab titled "Google Assistant calls." Uncheck the option to accept Google Assistant calls.

Doing this will disable customers' ability to reach your business through Google Assistant for reservations or general business questions. Customers will, however, still be able to search your business on Google search and Maps to find information regarding hours, reservation acceptances, and other details you choose to fill out, such as whether the business offers unisex bathrooms, wheelchair accessibility, or accepts cash only.

Another way to opt out of Google Duplex calls is to tell your Google Assistant to turn it off. To do this, make sure your Google Assistant device is currently on your business's Google account. Use the voice prompt, say, "Hey Google, please stop calling my business" to confirm the request. (The AI is apparently polite, so an added "please" can't hurt.)

Turning the Google Assistant calls option off may not block Google the company from contacting you entirely, but it will block the Duplex AI from making those eerily lifelike voice calls on behalf of your customers. And if you decide you do want to experiment with the AI after all, just go back to your business dashboard to reenable the option.

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The Benefits of Google My Business - Business 2 Community

Posted: 14 May 2019 06:20 PM PDT

422737 / Pixabay

Since pulling the plug on Google +, Google has been putting more effort and focus into providing businesses with more options to maximize their exposure through its platform.

Google has created Google My Business and in the past year they have been adding more options to improve the ability for businesses to be discovered online. Google My Business is particularly effective for small, local businesses.

What is Google My Business?

Google My Business is a free tool that allows you to promote your Business Profile and business website on Google Search and Maps. With your Google My Business account, you can see and connect with your customers, post updates to your Business Profile, and see how customers are interacting with your business on Google. (Google)

Why Should Small Businesses Use Google My Business?

Google My Business provides more ways for your business to attract and engage with customers searching for your business or your services/products.

Google My Business is particularly useful to small businesses because:

  • 4 out of 5 customers use search engines to find local information/businesses/services.
  • 70% of customers visit a store to make a purchase after an online search.
  • 85% of people trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.

What Tools are Provided to Help My Business Succeed?

Business Website – Even though you may have a business website of your own, a Google My Business website complements your website by providing more visibility with Google Search and Google Maps. The free website builder pulls the information from your Business Profile to auto-generate a website. You can then choose a specific template design, add photos, and create updates to customize your website.

Accessible Dashboard – The Google My Business allows you to view useful information for your business, including your online performance, customer photos, customer reviews, company updates, and a variety of helpful insights for you to determine if your marketing strategy is creating results, allowing you enough information to update your strategy or continue with what is working.

Insights – Google My Business insights provides information on how customers are using Search and Maps to find your listing or businesses providing your services/products. Insights provides information on how people are searching for your business, how they are searching for the services/products you provide, how many clicked through to your website, where they are located, whether they called your business, and more. (For more on Insights see Google's About Insights)

Google My Business Posts – While these updates are called "posts" they are not actually Social Media updates. These posts are visible on your Google My Business listing during a search and on the Google My Business website. The posts are a great way to showcase your business at the exact time someone is searching for your business online.

Customer Communication – Google My Business now provides a great way for customers to connect with your business. Customers viewing your listing now can call, message, or leave a review. Providing more ways for people to find you and reach you so you can do more business.

Keep an Eye on Your Competitors – You can also see what your competitors are posting and see who is in direct competition for searches in your area. Allowing you to re-strategize your campaign to put your business ahead of your opponents. (This means YOUR posts are showing up on their listing too.)

What is the Difference Between Google My Business, Google Places, Google Listings, etc.?

Google My Business now incorporates Google Places, Google Listings, and Google + Business Pages. IT is the main place to manage and update your business information and Business Profile. This is now what you need in order to update your information on Google and optimize your business for search rank.

Still Not Convinced?

Case studies have shown that businesses in a highly competitive industry should be using Google My Business to optimize their business online in order to get a jump on their competition.

You need to be where customers are looking, if you aren't, they won't find you, they will find your competition.

Google's Legal Head Makes Privacy Pitch for Search Business - Bloomberg

Posted: 14 May 2019 11:30 AM PDT

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Google's Legal Head Makes Privacy Pitch for Search Business  Bloomberg

Google's main search business uses mostly anonymous queries to make money, the company's chief legal officer said Tuesday.

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