Google Duplex expands to the UK, Canada, and Australia
Google Duplex was revealed back at Google I/O 2018. During the reveal, Google amazed the audience by showing off an AI chat service that could make a phone call and undertake telephonic conversations for placing orders and making reservations. The demo conversation was even interspersed with human-like “ums” and “ahhs,” which Google promised it would dial down in an effort to make Duplex more honest. Since its release, Google Duplex has rolled out to more devices, but it has only been available in the US. Now, Google is expanding the service to more regions, namely the UK, Canada, and Australia.
A support page relating to Google Duplex conversations has been quietly updated, as reported by VentureBeat. Google’s AI chat agent can now be used by customers in the UK, Australia, and Canada in a limited capacity. Previously, the support page only provided for phone numbers that Duplex (via Google Assistant) would draw from to call businesses in the US and New Zealand.
This new expansion comes in the backdrop of COVID-19 and the ensuing chaos the pandemic has brought along. Google is leveraging Duplex to let consumers confirm which restaurants are open or closed, giving them valuable information to help them decide whether to leave their house. In a blog post, Google had mentioned that it was increasingly using Duplex to contact businesses to confirm their updated hours in order to accurately display them on Google Search and Google Maps. VentureBeat confirmed that this rollout is part of that effort from Google.
To be clear, this expansion is not for the full Duplex experience that hinged primarily on making restaurant reservations under the Reserve with Google program. Duplex in the UK, Australia, and Canada is currently only limited to ascertaining the current business hours of businesses that are functional. Irrespective of the location, Duplex will explicitly mention at the beginning of the exchange that the call is automated. There is no word on when the full experience will roll out.