At Google’s recent I/O keynote, the company debuted Google Duplex, which is perhaps the biggest step forward the consumer technology world has taken in the AI space.
Google Duplex is a digital voice assistant that can make calls on your behalf. Simply tell Duplex to book a hair appointment or grab a dinner reservation, and it will call the hair salon or restaurant and make the appointment for you.
The demo was stunning (see the video here). Duplex sports a human-sounding voice, so it’s tough tell that a robot is making the call.
More impressively, Duplex is very smart. It is fluid and dynamic, a refreshing change from the rigidity that has defined artificial intelligence up to this point. It is able to understand the nuances of conversations and think on its feet, a testament to just how far Google AI has come.
All together, Google Duplex is a big step forward for artificial intelligence. While that comes with a ton of ethical issues, I’m a believer that most of these issues will be resolved and that society will continue to march toward enhanced AI over the next several years.
Putting those ethical issues to the side, Google Duplex offers some huge financial implications for Google. In the short term, these implications aren’t that sizable. But in the long term, these implications are huge and could be a big driver of GOOG stock over the next 5-10 years.
As such, I think Google Duplex adds bulk to the GOOG stock bull thesis.
Here’s a deeper look.
Near-Term Financial Implications of Google Duplex
If nothing else, Google Duplex is cool. It is a human-sounding voice assistant which can make calls for you, something that hasn’t been accomplished before in the AI space.
Importantly, cool creates hype. Just look at the huge search interest spike in “Google AI” that has happened since Duplex was announced, or just search “Google Duplex” and see how many articles are popping up left and right on the topic. Clearly, everyone is buzzing about Google Duplex.
This hype will lead to a small sales tailwind for GOOG stock.
Inevitably, hype and interest go together. And when interest is high, people tend to buy things related to that interest. As such, Google products with Google Duplex capability will likely see an uptick in adoption rates over the next several weeks to months. Namely, that means more Google Pixel phone sales and more Google smart home product sales.
Also, Google Duplex is intended to be used to increase the accurateness of certain digital micro-moments on Google search. For example, Google intends to use Duplex to accurately list hours of operation for retailers during holidays. This improved accurateness could lead to a bump in Google search usage, which could be beneficial for the company’s core advertising business.
Long-Term Financial Implications of Google Duplex
Longer term, the financial implications of Duplex are much, much bigger.
In many ways, Google Duplex is a massive step forward in automation. The technology simply takes a task which humans normally do (call for appointments and reservations) and delegates that task to a machine. That is, by definition, automation.
As such, at scale, Google Duplex can be sold as a automated technology. Demand for that technology will be huge. Just think about all the calls that call centers could automate and save a whole bunch of money on by doing so.
Granted, Google is still a long ways off from developing that technology at scale to a point where it is marketable en masse. But Duplex is a profound first step in that direction. If Google does develop an adept-enough technology to automate phone calls at scale, then GOOG stock could benefit from huge financial tailwinds as Google sells that technology to companies around the world.
Bottom Line on Google Duplex
Is it a reason to buy GOOG stock right now? Maybe. I do expect there to be a hype bump here which causes adoption rates of Pixel smartphones and Google’s smart home products to rise. There could also be a nice bump in the advertising business due to increased Google search usage thanks to enhanced micro-moment accurateness.
Is Google Duplex a reason to buy GOOG stock in the long term? Yes. The technology is still in its infancy, and it will take a while to perfect and scale. But at scale, this technology has huge financial implications which could create massive long-term tailwinds for Google’s operational growth.
The big takeaway? Google Duplex is (yet another) reason to be bullish on GOOG stock.
As of this writing, Luke Lango was long GOOG.