Google is starting to roll its Duplex feature out to some Pixels
Duplex was unveiled at this year's Google I/O conference. It is a function of Google Assistant that enables it to call businesses and book time with them using a machine-generated voice by itself. This may seem like an off-puttingly futuristic use of technology (although the user obviously tells it which appointments to make where). However, Duplex had not been in a position to help anyone (or otherwise), even though it has technically been a part of Assistant since 2017. However, this is set to change very soon.
The feature was intended for Pixel phones, and was also announced as a feature for the Pixel 3 and 3 XL at their launch. However, Duplex, which is powered by Google's audio-processing WaveNet neural network system of AI, had not been present out of the box in these phones. Until now. Google has announced that it is available to a "small group" of Pixel users.
These users are likely to be based in either San Francisco, New York, Atlanta or Phoenix, as Duplex has apparently learned businesses to call in these cities only. However, as the feature grows in capacity and efficacy, it may be rolled out to yet more users across America and, possibly, Europe thereafter. Duplex is said to be able to cope with many different types of appointment-making, and many variables of interacting with humans (understanding different accents included). However, it still has some significant limits, which include being able to operate in English-language conditions only. Therefore, as it stands, this level of e-assistance may be slow to take off.
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