Back in Google I/O of 2018, Google announced a new feature called Duplex. In essence, Google Assistant would automatically call a restaurant for you – one that doesn’t have an online reservation system – to speak to and listen to a human on the other end and confirming a slot for whatever time window you ask.
It can also ask basic information about the business such as whether or not the business is open for a holiday or if the hours aren’t listed on Google Maps. With this information from Duplex, it can dynamically keep business hours updated to the present day.
Upon its announcement, the feature raised concerns to many who argued that the Google Assistant was far too convincble to being a real person, really freaking some people out. Following this feedback, Google acknowledged the concerns and promised that it would notify the recipient of every automated call that it was not a real person and that the call would be recorded. The recordings’ purpose are to improve the feature over time.
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This Duplex feature is actually now rolling out to Pixel devices in 43 of the 50 United States. Due to individual State laws surrounding the consent of calls being recorded, Google was not able to make the feature available in those last few States, at least not right now. Google offered The Verge the following statement about those last few States.
As we continue to bring Duplex technology to more users across the country, we want to ensure that we carefully respect local/state laws. We’re actively working to reach full coverage, but don’t have a timeline to share at this time.
The States where Duplex will not roll out are Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, and Texas.
What do you think of Google being able to make automated calls to businesses? Does this make our lives easier or could it have serious implications?