San Francisco — Alphabet’s Google is drawing thousands of new customers to gyms and salons each month through an appointment-booking tool released in 2017, Reuters has learnt, 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% of bookings representing new customers. Consumers like the convenience. Business owners say the tool is putting their names in front of more potential clients. The early results are a good sign for Google’s strategy for search at a time when it is battling technology rivals to guide consumers to shops, products, recipes, music and more. Google wants to do more than ...

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