Google's Duplex AI can book your haircut appointments

It took two years for the feature to be practical.

Chris Velazco/Engadget

Google first showed off Duplex by having the AI book haircut appointments, but the Assistant feature was unexpectedly left by the wayside in favor of making restaurant reservations. It appears to have come roaring back, though. VentureBeat has discovered that Duplex is now ready to book haircut appointments in the real world. When you find a barber or hairstylist that requires a phone call to book an appointment, you tell Assistant details like your preferred timing, cut type, and even your choice of stylist — the AI then handles the call for you.

As before, Duplex will warn that the call is automated and being recorded. If the hairstylist doesn’t want to be recorded, Duplex will pass the call to a human operator.

It’s not certain just when haircut bookings rolled out, or why it took so long. We’ve asked Google for comment.

As VB notes, this expansion might be coming at a crucial moment. Google originally billed Duplex as a help for businesses that wanted to reach people online, but didn’t have internet booking systems. With the pandemic greatly limiting business, the AI helper could help find valuable customers for hair salons that might otherwise lose clients.