If Google can deliver the answer, along with a seamless, voice-activated booking, it will be hard to beat. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
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Alphabet Inc.'s Google is drawing thousands of new customers to gyms and salons each month through an appointment-booking tool released last year, Reuters has learned, a quiet step in the company's transition to the next generation of search. The service, known as Reserve with Google, spares users the phone calls, online searching and form filling typically associated with appointments. Google declined to comment on performance of the tool, which it launched last March.But in interviews with Reuters, seven software firms that supply schedule data to Google described the volume as significant, with as much as 75 percent of bookings representing new customers. Google wants to do more than supply users with a list of web pages that they must research themselves.Google says its Assistant will even place robo-calls to businesses to make bookings if a suitable option is not available through Reserve, a feature it showed off in May at Google I/O, the company's conference for software developers.Google does not charge users or businesses for Reserve.Or Google could eventually charge businesses transaction fees.To launch Reserve, Google cut deals with 25 large software suppliers, promising to consolidate and polish the process to increase bookings to the firms' clients.
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