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Google's conversational Duplex AI rolls out to some Pixel owners

You'll have to live in one of a handful of cities.
Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
November 21, 2018
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After months of hype, Google's reservation-placing Duplex AI is available to the general public -- if only just. The company has confirmed to VentureBeat that Duplex is rolling out to a "small group" of Pixel phone users in "select cities." It wasn't specific about those cities, but it likely includes the previously announced cities of Atlanta, New York City, Phoenix and San Francisco. Google is starting with a "slow rollout" to ensure a "good experience" for both Pixel owners and businesses,

Right now, Duplex's call-in reservation skills are limited. It's only useful for restaurants at the moment, and it requires a bit of effort to be sure you get time and seats you want. VB also noted that some restaurants simply wouldn't take reservations, even if they had public numbers and didn't limit bookings to the web. You may still have to talk to a human, then.

It's a start, though, and it shows that the technology can work in the real-world. The larger challenge may be scaling it until it can work reliably for a variety of services, across many cities and devices. That will depend in part on business owners agreeing to talk to an AI. If many of them decline, Google won't have much success no matter how well its technology works.

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