Published: Sat, November 24, 2018
Electronics | By Shannon Stone

Google’s Duplex AI begins its rollout in the US

Google’s Duplex AI begins its rollout in the US

When we first got to see Google demo its new Duplex service at I/O earlier this year, it was an absolute eye-opener. The feature allows users to make bookings using an AI-powered assistant that will talk to the store, restaurant, or any other place to make reservations on the user's behalf.

The search giant's human-sounding artificial intelligence call service is available to a "small group" of Pixel owners in "select cities", VentureBeat reported Wednesday. "We're now ramping up the ability to book restaurant reservations through the Google Assistant over the phone using Duplex technology", a Google spokesperson has told VentureBeat. These cities are likely to include New York, Phoenix, and San Francisco, where Google has already been testing Duplex. Now, the system notifies the receiver that the call is made by the Google Assistant and also tells that the call is being recorded. On top of that, they can cancel an attempt to make a reservation from within this UI.

The spokesperson added that it's going to be a slow rollout and that Google Duplex will "expand to more Pixel users as we continue to ramp up". Right now, the feature is limited to making restaurant reservations.

Google previously said human operators will be standing by as backup should a call go off the rails.

But make no mistake - this is Duplex arriving officially - there are no closed user groups anymore, and no approved businesses who have been primed to receive such calls.

It sounded like any other women talking, but one half of the conversation was held by Google's AI-infused digital assistant. From the VB piece: "For now, if you're able to access the service you'll be restricted to restaurant bookings (so no haircut appointments just yet), and some restaurants will be unavailable for reasons that occasionally aren't entirely clear".

Here is one video that shows Duplex in action. Next, the user has to answer a few questions like selecting the restaurant name, date and time, food items. If many of them decline, Google won't have much success no matter how well its technology works.

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