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Google Will Begin Testing Duplex In Coming Weeks

Google’s new AI booking assistant, Google Duplex will not only identify itself when speaking to someone on the phone but will record calls with testing happening in the coming weeks.

According to The Verge, Google asked a handful of journalists to demo Duplex with VP of product and design Nick Fox saying limited testing will be conducted by trusted testers.

Fox also notes the roll-out of Google Duplex will be released in stages with the AI asking about holiday hours first, then restaurant reservations with hairdresser appointments last.

Shown in a new video, you see a woman asking the Google Assistant to making a booking to a restaurant at a time with the Assistant asking if another time is okay.

When Duplex calls up, it immediately lets the person on the other line know it is the Google Assistant and will be recording the call.

Watching the Assistant speak to the waiter on the phone you see it making ‘ums’ and ‘ahs’ and taking natural pauses just like a human. The voice sounded very natural nothing like the actual Google Assistant voice.

According to Scott Huffman, VP of engineering for Google Assistant the ums and ahs were not programmed in, instead he calls them ‘speech disfluencies’. Huffman says the person on the other line can ask to not be recorded and Duplex will hang up and call back on an unrecorded line.

If Duplex ends up not understanding anything, there will be a real person to step in.

Google Duplex was showcased at the I/O Developers conference in Mountain View last month. To use Duplex, a user has to provide where they want to go, the date and the time and the Google Assistant.

If a business uses an online booking service, the Assistant will book through that. And if not, the Assistant will call the business on your behalf.

Google says Duplex helps the Assistant understand complex sentences, fast speech, and long remarks, so it can respond naturally in a phone conversation.

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