Google is testing out a new service within it’s search results, that incorporates live chat with businesses via a link that shows whether a business is currently online and launches Google Hangouts (on either desktop or mobile) if they are.
The service is incorporated directly into the business listing search result that it shows on Google, alongside other details including price level, address, map location, phone number, and reviews etc. The experimental feature was originally spotted by Matt Gibstein who shared screens on Twitter.
— Matt Gibstein (@MattGibstein) February 24, 2015
The experimental chat feature offers a direct text-based line of communication, in this case with a restaurant, so that you could theoretically ask if there’s a reservation available or have a menu-specific question, for example, and receive an answer in real-time. Looking ahead, this tool could also be built into things like Google Maps in addition to directly in search results. Now that sounds pretty cool.
Or course there’s no guarantee it’ll ever actually see the light of day officially. Still, with social messaging becoming more and more important to businesses everywhere, it’s a smart area for Google to explore.