MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.(Reuters) - Google on Tuesday showed how its virtual assistant can now call restaurants and salons to book appointments, navigating complex conversations, as the Alphabet Inc (GOOGL.O) unit acknowledged that a technological onslaught was leaving users frazzled and needing a cure.
The demonstrations at Google I/O, an annual event for creators of Google-compatible products, showed how big technology companies are positioning themselves for a lucrative artificial intelligence revolution while grappling with heightened scrutiny about their societal influence.
Chief Executive Sundar Pichai and other officials said Google should find ways to reduce stress from technology and improve customers’ “digital well-being.”
“We can’t just be wide-eyed about the innovations technology creates,” he added.
Google showed how its email program can suggest sentences and how Google Assistant can call a salon or restaurant to make an appointment or reservation.
A new tool in its Android software, which runs most of the world’s mobile phones, will notify users how much they are using apps and let them set limits for themselves and family members.
Google, Facebook Inc (FB.O), Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O), Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) and other technology leaders are vying to keep users in their apps to maintain booming businesses of selling ads, goods or online computing services.
Offloading tasks to virtual assistants to manage photos, emails and schedules is part of the companies’ remedy for decreasing screen time.
Shares of Alphabet closed at $1,058.59, down almost 0.1 percent.
Google and its rivals have faced unprecedented criticism from former employees and U.S. lawmakers over the last year.