Google Rolls Out Reservation-Placing AI Calling Service Duplex to Select Pixel Owners

As promised by Google, some Pixel owners can now use the company’s reservation-placing AI calling service Duplex to do their talking.

That’s according to a new report from VentureBeat, which explains that the trial “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’.

The service was first announced at Google I/O 2018. To refresh your mind, it is an AI and Google Assistant-powered feature which helps you call different services and book reservations. To make all of this more realistic, Google Duplex uses WaveNet – an audio processing neural network by Google. It was built into Google Assistant back in October of 2017.

If you have a Pixel phone and live in NYC, San Francisco, Atlanta, or Phoenix, you should be able to start using Duplex either now or very soon. Google confirmed this news to VentureBeat, and as exciting as that is, there are a few caveats to keep in mind.

For starters, Duplex can only be used right now for making restaurant reservations. Google previously demoed the system booking an appointment at a hair salon, but that functionality is not ready quite yet. Furthermore, it’s currently limited to just Pixel phones and doesn’t work on other Assistant devices like smart speakers or Smart Displays. It’s also only available in English.

“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.”

Currently, Google Duplex is only able to make restaurant reservations in New York, Atlanta, Phoenix, and San Francisco. Eventually, the service will spread to the entire US, hopefully Canada, and most likely to Europe, too.

In related news, Google recently released a tool that takes advantage of Apple’s new Siri Shortcuts to let users access its smart Google Assistant instead of Siri.