Alexa Can Now Tell You Business Phone Numbers and Hours

Amazon's voice assistant is getting down to business. You'll soon be able to ask Alexa for a nearby restaurant or store's opening hours, address, and phone number. 

Credit: Shaun Lucas/Tom's Guide

(Image credit: Shaun Lucas/Tom's Guide)

Amazon has partnered with brand-management company Yext, which provides public-facing business information to digital platforms. Yext will now provide the answer when you ask Alexa something like "When does Pizza Hut open?"

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"Today is a quantum leap forward in Yext's mission to give businesses control over their digital knowledge and provide consumers with perfect information everywhere," said Howard Lerman, founder and CEO of Yext, in a statement. "Amazon has changed the world with its innovative, market-leading voice-enabled devices, the Amazon Echo family of smart speakers, and the Alexa voice service."

"Now, the tens of millions of consumers who ask Alexa questions can get authoritative answers from the business itself with the Yext Knowledge Engine."

Tom's Guide has reached out to Amazon for further comment. 

Previously, Alexa was able to find information about restaurants or attractions nearby using a Yelp skill. But Yext has a few advantages over Yelp. Not all Yelp pages have all of a business's information listed (many lack the business hours, in particular). Additionally, some information on Yelp pages is user-contributed, whereas all of Yext's information comes directly from businesses (though some of Yext's data are on Yelp).

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Alexa will have the facts about 1.2 million businesses and locations, Lerman told Forbes. It will also have some more interesting facts: He claims you could ask Alexa how many calories are in a Big Mac.

This also another big step for Alexa towards matching the smarts of rival Google Assistant, which has continued to widen its lead in recent months. Google has long been able to list nearby restaurants along with their ratings, address, directions, store hours and phone numbers using information from its own search engine (a resource that Amazon lacks).

Expect this functionality to roll out to Alexa-enabled devices in the next few days.

Monica Chin is a writer at The Verge, covering computers. Previously, she was a staff writer for Tom's Guide, where she wrote about everything from artificial intelligence to social media and the internet of things to. She had a particular focus on smart home, reviewing multiple devices. In her downtime, you can usually find her at poetry slams, attempting to exercise, or yelling at people on Twitter.