Google has expanded the number of users that have access to its much-hyped, and criticised, AI that can place reservations for people.
A spokesperson confirmed to VentureBeat that Duplex — Google’s artificially intelligent chat agent that can arrange appointments over the phone — has expanded from a “set of trusted tester users” earlier this year to a “small group” of Google Pixel phone owners, who can now use Duplex via the Google Assistant to secure restaurant reservations in “select cities.”
Presumably, “select cities” refers to the previously announced pilot metros of New York, Atlanta, Phoenix, and San Francisco. If you’re not in the “trusted tester” group, you’ll likely get an error along the lines of “Sorry, I can’t call to make reservations for you yet, but here’s their phone number: [10 digits].”
To be clear, it’s not quite the Duplex experience Google demoed at its I/O 2018 developers conference in May — Google Assistant isn’t booking haircut appointments just yet, and it can only place calls in English. But importantly, it’s no longer limited to businesses with which Google has explicitly partnered.
“We’re currently ramping up the ability to book restaurant reservations through the Google Assistant over the phone using Duplex technology,” said the spokesperson. “To help deliver a good experience to Pixel users and to businesses, we’re starting with a slow rollout … and will expand to more Pixel users as we continue to ramp up.”