It has been announced that Google has started to use artificial intelligence (AI) to automatically update information about businesses from Google Maps.
Perhaps somewhat ironically considering Google regards AI-generated content on websites as spam, the goal of this new use of AI is to provide users with useful information that is correct.
Business hours updated using AI
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and businesses’ opening hours changing as a result, Google has developed a machine learning model that can automatically identify if a business’ opening hours in Google Maps is correct.
If Google’s algorithm thinks that the opening hours are wrong, it will predict the business’ opening times and show these AI-generated predictions instead of the data that Google currently has.
For example, a business may show that on a Monday it is closed. However, if this has not been updated for over a year, the AI-generated predictions may kick in and change these opening hours. Furthermore, if Google thinks that your most popular hours are evenings, it may update your hours of operation to reflect this.
Use of Street View
Another interesting new use of the AI is that it will use Street View images of the storefront to identify opening hour signs so that it can easily check that the hours are correct. This could cause confusion, especially if Street View is out of date. It would be expected, however, that Google would know this and would disregard these signs if the Street View is years old.
To conclude, it is worth checking your opening hours in your Google Business Listing are kept up to date so that Google has the most relevant information for users and doesn’t change your opening hours itself, potentially causing inaccuracies and confusion with your customers.
At Engage Web, we provide digital marketing services to help grow your business online through search engine optimisation, Facebook Ads, web design, copywriting and more. To discuss this, get in touch with our team today.
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