Google Duplex begins rolling out to selected users in the US

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Remember Google Duplex? The AI-assisted platform that Google showcased at its I/O conference two years ago? The demo for Duplex was impressive as a very human-sounding Google Assistant was able to make an appointment at a hairdresser, with the receptionist none the wiser.

The demo also raised several questions, specifically as it pertained to the AI disclosing that it was not a real person. Google has since addressed those concerns, and now it looks as if Duplex is being readied for a mass roll-out.

This as VentureBeat initially reported that the feature was rolling out to selected Android smartphone users, with Google later confirming that it was indeed being shared with its community in the United States.

At this stage, however, Google Duplex remains relatively limited, both in terms of functionality and access.

Much like the demo of two years ago, it looks like you’ll only be able to make a haircut appointment with the platform.

To that end, The Verge explains that users will tell Duplex what time and date they’d like to schedule the appointment, as well as offer a time window, should the desired time not be available. The platform is also said to be quite basic in terms of the bookings it can handle right now, with only a men’s haircut, a women’s haircut, or a general haircut being catered to.

What we’d find interesting, is what will happen should the conversation with the hairdresser or barber where the appointment is being made, become complex or technical. Take COVID-19 for example, and whether any questions related to the user’s infection status or adherence to regulations is brought up.

As such, while Google Duplex appears ready for roll-out, this feels like more of a beta test for now. It will therefore prove interesting to see what kind of data or insight is uncovered as a result.

To see Google Duplex in action, and hear just how realistic it is, hit play on the video below captured from the I/O 2018 demo.

Robin-Leigh Chetty

Robin-Leigh Chetty

When he's not reviewing the latest smartphones, Robin-Leigh is writing about everything tech-related from IoT and smart cities, to 5G and cloud computing. He's also a keen photographer and dabbles in console games.