voice + video blog

Google Assistant will soon be making your reservations

The search engine giant recently showed off a future feature of its Google Assistant software. Called Google Duplex, the technology has the ability to hold meaningful conversations over the phone.

On stage at the annual developers conference I/O 2018, Google CEO Sundar Pichai played a recording of calls made with Duplex to a hairdressing salon and a restaurant.

The synthesised voices were completely natural and the interactions seamless. 

Hairdresser booking. Audio source:Google.
Restaurant reservation. Audio source:Google.

Pichai assured everyone the clips were entirely authentic and said the technology is intended to undertake specific tasks, such as scheduling appointments or making restaurant reservations.

It seems like a brilliant advance in AI and to the person on the receiving end of the call, it must have sounded like any customer conversation. The technology has already provoked some ethical questions. Should the receiving caller be informed they are talking to a bot, for example?

The benefits of Google Duplex are obvious. For me, the ability to have a device make a call to a customer support line and wait for someone to pick would be a productivity boost in itself. To then have it do my bidding would be just wonderful.

The tech is in its early stages but Google say that users will be able to experience an early versionof Duplex during the summer.

Bring it on!

Posted by Tim Longhurst on Sat 12 May 2018.