Google Duplex Testing to Begin This Summer, Full-Scale Launch Likely to Follow


A decade ago, if you claimed that your phone could make calls on your behalf, you'd be carted off to the loony bin to live the rest of your life in a padded cell. This year, Google made it look easy at I/O 2018 with Duplex, where the Google Assistant was capable of making a phone call on your behalf and even sustain an almost human-like conversation (complete with fillers and everything). Yes, some of it appeared to be a gimmick, but it did set a precedent. The company stated that the feature would be rolled out 'soon', but didn't specify a timeline. We didn't hear much about it until now. Today, Google released another video that demonstrates Duplex's prowess. Check it out:

Google Pixel’s Phone App Will Soon Be Able to Speak to 911 Operators Automatically

The primary difference between the calls made at Google I/O and the video above is that in the latter, the Google Assistant identifies itself as the Google Assistant, which wasn't the case last time. The change was possibly implemented to comply with local regulations. Google also stated that the feature will not work in the state of Texas owing to local laws.

Additionally, Google will also employ a range of human operators who can act as a failsafe in case Duplex isn't up to the tasks. For example, if someone doesn't want to be recorded, they can tell the Assistant so and the person will receive a callback from one of the operators. Mimicking something as complex as human speech will no doubt require several months, if not weeks of rigorous testing. There will be failures and hilarious outcomes that'll end up on YouTube, but that is to be expected.

A phased rollout of Google Duplex is expected to begin in the summer of 2019. In the beginning, availability might be limited to a few cities here and there. It is also possible that some new features will be added on the go. Initially, the service could only be limited to dinner reservations, with support for more services added later.