Google Duplex rolls out to small number of Pixel owners

Some Google Pixel owners can now use the company’s Duplex service to do their talking, just as Google promised last month.

The search giant’s human-sounding artificial intelligence call service is available to a ‘small group’ of Pixel owners in ‘select cities,’ VentureBeat reported Wednesday. It started limited beta testing in June.

Google confirmed the accuracy of its statement to VentureBeat, but declined to add any further details. A spokesperson told VentureBeat: ‘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.’

VentureBeat notes that New York, Atlanta, Phoenix and San Francisco were previously announced as the pilot locations.

VentureBeat shows Duplex — which is used in Google Assistant — in action. You ask Assistant to make a reservation and it asks you questions about the number of people, date and time (it’ll ask for a window of time in case the exact one isn’t available). Assistant will tell you if it’s been successful and note it in your phone’s reservations list.

It also recorded a call from the restaurant’s perspective, giving us a sense of how human the Duplex sounds.

Oh, and if it sounds creepy to you, take solace in the fact that the company designed it with built-in disclosure.

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