The Mountain View-based technology company Google has rolled out its Google Duplex, an AI chat agent that can arrange appointments over the phone. Google Duplex is now available to all Pixel phones including the Pixel, Pixel 2, and Pixel 3 in 43 U.S. states. Moreover, it’ll roll out to more Android and iOS devices in the coming weeks, according to Google.
The Assistant isn’t booking all the things yet, apart from booking restaurants where it works directly with ‘Reserve with Google’, the company’s cross-platform service that makes it easier to manage bookings through Google Search, Maps, and other apps and portals. Though, after its initial Duplex demo in last May, Google received much criticism, where many were not amused that Google Assistant mimicked a human so well. However, later a month it promised that Google Assistant utilizing Duplex that would first introduce itself. Part of the reason Duplex sounds as natural as it taps Google’s sophisticated WaveNet audio processing neural network, and intelligently inserts speech disfluencies, in which people make “ums” and “ahs” involuntarily during the conversation.
In a statement, the company said that when they tested Duplex late last year, where a majority of Duplex calls are made by utilizing the automated system, others are conducted with human operators. Duplex doesn’t yet work with every restaurant, but for that Google said businesses will be able to opt out from receiving calls by toggling a setting in their Google My Business account. For reserving seats in the restaurants, Google Assistant first prompts users to stipulate the size of their party, for that it recommending sizes like two, three, or four people, then it confirming a date. Afterward, a user will be asked to supply a preferred time within the restaurant’s hours of operation, as well as a backup time in the event when the requested time is not available.