At its I/O 2018 event earlier this year, Google showed off a new feature called Duplex which lets users ask their Google Assistant to book appointments over the phone. It has now been reported by VentureBeat that the tool has been expanded from the initial set of trusted users to a small group of Google Pixel owners. Right now, the tool is only making reservations at restaurants in select cities including New York, Atlanta, Phoenix, and San Francisco.
Speaking to VentureBeat, a Google spokesperson said:
“We’re currently ramping up the ability to book restaurant reservations through the Google Assistant over the phone using Duplex technology. 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.”
As the service is still going through an early trial period, Google has made it so that you can only book restaurant reservations despite the firm showing off other abilities at I/O 2018 such as making appointments for a haircut. What we did find out though from this initial roll out is that there are measures which Google is taking to cut back on abuse of Duplex.
In its testing, VentureBeat revealed that you can cancel restaurant reservations, however, the Assistant will warn you that additional reservations won’t be able to be made at that restaurant for a further 12 to 24 hours, and if you repeatedly cancel appointments, you’ll be barred from Duplex for a temporary time span. Duplex also alerts the business that it is calling on behalf of a client and that the call may be recorded.
Hopefully it won’t take too long for the Search giant to roll this feature out to more users and countries, however, it’ll likely want to take it slow to make sure it perfects the application so that it doesn’t scare off businesses after going through a bad experience.