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 business.google.com 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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