Google Duplex, the automated calling service first showcased at I/O 2018 last year, is expanding beyond Pixel phones in the US. The Google Assistant-powered service is starting to roll out to iPhones and Android phones beyond Google’s own Pixel phones. The search giant has officially confirmed that broader roll out of Google Duplex started this week. The service will work on devices running Android version 5.0 or higher. It will also be available on any iPhone model with the Google Assistant app installed on it.The Duplex works only in English and is currently available in 43 states in the US.
The service allows Google Assistant users to make restaurant reservations on their behalf with the help of a human-sounding robot voice. The feature debuted on Google’s Pixel devices in December last year and it was confirmed that Duplex will be available on more phones in March. Now, Google is delivering by extending Duplex to more Android smartphones and Apple iPhone. XDA Developers report that they have seen Duplex work on Samsung Galaxy S10+. It seems that Google is still in the process of making the feature work on more devices.
To recall, Google demoed Duplex for the first time with a demo that showed a near-human automated voice making a phone call to make a reservation at a restaurant. Duplex, which means both ends of the communication can send and receive signals, stood out for its ability to handle interactions with a real human on the other side of the call. At the time of demo, Google did not reveal that the demo was a recorded call and not happening live on stage.
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Google also failed to explicitly reveal the identity of robots to humans on the other side of the call. The demo was received with both astonishment and criticism. The lack of transparency has not helped much either and there are concerns that this could be used to exploit restaurant workers and even annoy them. Duplex has been limited to Pixel phones for now and its impact is not clear. Now that Google is expanding it to more Android phones and iPhone, it will become clear whether it solves real world problem or ends up creating a new one.