Today I have some news from Google. And it’s good news.
Last year, Google launched Duplex, an AI-powered customer service tool meant to help small businesses (like restaurants and hair salons) field more phone calls, answering common questions and scheduling reservations or appointments.
This year it will expand on this by opening up Duplex to the web.
Online car rental reservations were given as an example; you say “get me a rental car through Hertz”, and it pulls up that company’s website and automatically starts booking your car.
It can pre-fill things like trip dates from your calendar, and car preferences based on previous rental confirmations found in your Gmail.
Duplex, which is live in 43 states, is now expanding beyond the phone and voice to the web. To start, Duplex will be focused on a couple of narrow use cases: car bookings and movie ticketing.
Only Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, and Texas are missing from the list.
The feature is exclusive to Google Pixel smartphone owners for the time being, but Google says Duplex support should roll out to other devices “over the next few weeks.
According to the company’s support page for the service, it should arrive on nearly every Android device running Android 5.0 Lollipop or later, as well as most iPhones with Google Assistant installed.
When you use Duplex to do something like make a dinner reservation, Google Assistant makes the call on your behalf.
She will communicate verbally with the restaurant staff and negotiate the details for your table. Once the reservation is made, Assistant notifies you on your phone, creates a calendar event, and also sends you a confirmation email.
During the conversation, there is a disclosure that Assistant is making the call, so the restaurant staff knows they are not talking with a human.
It’s official, we are living in the future.
What do you think? Are you a restaurant or boutique owner who thinks this could help you field more phone calls, answering common questions and scheduling reservations or appointments?
Emily LaDrig is the Chief Execution Officer at Excelerate America, the fun, smart services for businesses looking to level up. What are your thoughts on Google Duplex? Share them with Emily by emailing her at email@example.com.