Google’s Duplex AI begins its rollout in the US

CategoriesAppsReadNews Divisive Google Duplex AI rolling out to select Pixel phones Stateside
By Robin Leigh Chetty

Remember when Google demoed Duplex, a service that would have an AI-powered bot call restaurants and salons to book tables and appointments for you over the phone?

Folks at VentureBeat got access to Google Duplex that is rolling out to "set of trusted tester users", all of whom are Pixel smartphone owners. We may see this experience evolve slightly as Google continues to troubleshoot and refine its operation, but this is already pretty exciting and we can't wait to see it expand and become available to new users, in new regions, and across additional devices.

While Google wasn't specific about which regions would get Duplex, it's likely previously confirmed cities like New York, Atlanta, Phoenix and San Francisco will see it.

With restaurants that are eligible, Assistant starts off by asking you about the number of pax, which is limited to 10 now.

Some Google Pixel owners can use the company's Duplex call service. After your booking is complete, you can view details about it or cancel from the My Reservations screen.

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The conversation feels like any other interaction with the Google Assistant, and while VentureBeat does note that it had some issues with certain restaurants not being compatible, that's either due to initial bugs or businesses having the ability to opt out of calls from their Google My Business page.

Although the tech looks impressive and interesting, surely a more robust and accurate way to solve the problem of making reservations would be for the AI to go to a restaurant's website, find the online reservations system and use that to show what options are available and fill in the booking form.

Duplex is a new tool from Google that aims to use Artificial intelligence (AI) to "accomplish real-world tasks over the phone", according to Google.

To begin the process, trigger Google Assistant by saying "Hey Google, make a restaurant reservation" or "Hey Google, reserve a table".

It also recorded a call from the restaurant's perspective, giving us a sense of how human the Duplex sounds. It will only work in a few cities and the people getting it will only be able to book restaurants with it right now. If many of them decline, Google won't have much success no matter how well its technology works.

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