Sunday, May 29, 2022

How to try the human-sounding AI

Google is beginning to roll out its human-sounding Google Duplex technology to Pixel users in the US.

With this feature, you’ll be able to ask Google Assistant to call businesses for you to make reservations, book appointments, get hours of operation, and more. Google Duplex has been in testing since it debuted in May 2018, and although Google is promising to take “a slow and measured approach” with the feature, it’s already rolling out to owners of Pixel phones in three major urban areas.

What is Google Duplex?

AI ditches the robot voice

Google Duplex is a technology powering a new Google Assistant feature. Billed as a completely automated system, Google Duplex can essentially make calls for you, but with a natural-sounding human voice instead of a robotic one. It’s able to understand “complex sentences, fast speech, and long remarks,” according to Google, which envisions us using Duplex to book appointments and reservations.

How does Google Duplex work?

There’s no learning curve and no extra step to set up Duplex.

Placing a call with Duplex

Based on a demo from Google I/O 2018, it seems like you’ll be able to ask the Google Assistant on your phone something like, “Hey Google, call [name of restaurant] and make a reservation for four people on 22 October at 7pm.” From that point, Google Assistant will place the call, and Google Duplex will talk to whoever answers the phone at the restaurant. 

Duplex will also add your reservations and appointments to your calendar.

Can you trust Google Duplex?

Pocket-lint talks about this in detail, here.

When and how can you test Google Duplex?

Limited beta

Google Duplex has been available through a limited public beta test since last summer, among a select group of “trusted testers”, meaning there’s no way you can manually join. Google would have to invite you. However, Google said businesses that have opted into receiving calls will get calls from Google Duplex to confirm holiday hours, such as open and close times for Thanksgiving, as well as to book reservations.

When will Google Duplex be widely available?

Google will expand its limited public beta test of Google Duplex to more users beginning in October 2018.

Pixel phones

Google Duplex will first expand to Pixel phone users when they call select restaurants in New York, Atlanta, Phoenix, and San Francisco. Google said you’ll be given full transparency and control. So, you’ll always know it is Google Assistant calling. Plus, you can opt-out from receiving calls simply by telling Google Assistant, or, if you’re a business, by going to settings in your Google My Business account.


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