Google Duplex restaurant bookings arriving on iPhone in coming weeks

Posted:
in iOS
Google is preparing to expand the availability of Duplex, its automated calling feature for Google Assistant, to iPhones in the coming weeks, allowing users of the digital assistant to book tables at restaurants in 43 states across the United States.

Google Duplex


First shown at Google I/O in May 2018, Duplex is a function of Google Assistant that can make calls to businesses on behalf of the user, enabling them to make appointments or to book services without needing to speak to any employees. While it has been available for a while on the Google Pixel smartphones, it will soon be usable on the iPhone.

A Wednesday blog post by Google Assistant Engineering VP Scott Huffman advises Duplex can be used to book restaurant reservations over the phone in 43 U.S. states. Currently limited to the Pixel line, the search giant will be enabling Duplex in Google Assistant running on other Android devices, as well as the iOS app.

The assistant takes advantage of Google's natural language research to perform a phone call to the selected restaurant, making queries with the employee answering the phone about a potential booking. Triggered by a command such as "Book a table for four people at [restaurant] tomorrow night," the assistant will advise of the party size and when the booking should be made, as well as the name.





If a reservation is made successfully, the user is provided with a notification on their device, as well as an email and a calendar invite.

Google Duplex serves to fix an issue where a high number of small businesses do not offer an online booking system for their services, but do have the capability of taking appointments over the phone. Different voices are able to be used, complete with filler sounds such as "umm" and "ah" to make the virtual caller seem more human-like, with the cadence of voice able to change on the fly.

At the same time as making a booking, the technology also helps Google update its business listings for holiday hours, and could also help update Google Maps with correct information, allowing those using the search engine and mapping app to get more accurate results.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 5
    This is a real service now?  I saw the demo, but I hadn't realized it had been successfully deployed.
    edited March 6
  • Reply 2 of 5
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 21,291member
    This is a real service now?  I saw the demo, but I hadn't realized it had been successfully deployed.
    It's been available to Google's Pixel phones for awhile now. Still a limited area tho, not all cities are serviced, which is why I haven't used it yet.

    On a related note Google also understands that some businesses for their own reasons may not want to receive a Duplex call on behalf of a client or potential customer. That's easily dealt with too: Tell Google directly when Duplex calls (something like "Please remove my business from this service")  or alternately turn off ‘Google Assistant Calls’ in Google My Business.
    edited March 6 Carnagedouglas bailey
  • Reply 3 of 5
    gatorguy said:
    This is a real service now?  I saw the demo, but I hadn't realized it had been successfully deployed.
    It's been available to Google's Pixel phones for awhile now. Still a limited area tho, not all cities are serviced, which is why I haven't used it yet.

    On a related note Google also understands that some businesses for their own reasons may not want to receive a Duplex call on behalf of a client or potential customer. That's easily dealt with too: Tell Google directly when Duplex calls (something like "Please remove my business from this service")  or alternately turn off ‘Google Assistant Calls’ in Google My Business.
    Considering it's been around for a few months, even if it's only on a few phones and few places, I'd have expected to have seen more clips on youtube of it working. There's one of a lengthy exchange on VentureBeat and a real person from Google booking at a cafe but nothing else that I've seen.

    I know everyone else will hate the idea of this but I wouldn't mind a future where Google is listening to my conversations - under certain conditions - and if it hears me suggest to my wife that we go to XYZ for dinner, Assistant chimes in and asks if it can book - "yes, table for three at 7pm tonight please" and it's done.
  • Reply 4 of 5
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 21,291member
    Well I'll have to modify my previous comment. It now works here too as I tried it last evening, and apparently with more than just restaurants? Not entirely certain....
    edited March 7
  • Reply 5 of 5
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 21,291member
    Of special note Google Assistant processing will move entirely to on-device, and as a result up to 10x faster than current. 

Sign In or Register to comment.