Every once in a while, a truly ground-breaking innovation launches onto the tech scene. That happened this week, when Google revealed its Assistant can now make calls for you and book appointments.

Here’s an example — while you watch, remember that this was a real call.

It got me wondering: Will companies need to learn how to “speak bot”?

Here’s what I mean. As this technology advances, more bots will be making calls. Your reception desk may well be fielding calls from intelligent devices, rather than people.

Will we need to learn how to speak to bots so they understand what we offer better?

I can see a time in the (very) near future, where busy receptionists get to know the “accent” of the various voices, and then speak in simple sentences so the bot processes the information easier.

For instance, rather than saying “How ’bout 4?” will we be saying to bots “Are they available at 4 o’clock PM?”

It’s subtle, but could make the difference between a booking or not.

Already, metadata on web pages can help Google place your business more accurately in the listings and its “knowledge cards.” I can easily see a new metadata field called something like “Bot-Friendly,” just like how we’d specify, say, “Wheelchair-Accessible.”

Since Google owns both this technology and the largest web index in the world, having this kind of certification or listing might make Google pick your business when someone doesn’t specify a particular brand. If I were a Google engineer, I’d absolutely code the app to select a “Bot-Friendly” company when my person says “Book me a haircut at any stylist close to me.”

Either way, this is a massive development and one brands need to watch closely.

"The Bot Economy" Keynote

In this revealing keynote, Tod Maffin will share insights his agency has learned around deploying bots that can sell your product, help serve your customers better, and gain a wider engaged audience.