Do you dread making phone calls? Perhaps they make you anxious, or you’d just like to avoid a chatty person. Well, if you have a phone equipped with the Google Assistant, placing calls might soon be a thing of the past.
At Google I/O today, the company showed off a developing product, dubbed Google Duplex, that uses the Google Assistant to make calls for you. We’re not talking about just finding and dialing a number, but carrying on a full conversation with the real person on the end of the line.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai played recordings of what he said were real calls placed by the Google Assistant.
In the first clip, the Google Assistant called a hair salon to book an appointment for a client. After asking for a particular date and time, the receptionist said that time wasn’t available and offered up an alternative. Google Assistant asked about an earlier time, and responded to queries about what the client needed to have done.
In the second call, the Google Assistant calls a restaurant to make a reservation. At first, the woman answering the call mishears the Assistant, who asked about making a reservation on “Wednesday the 7th.” The woman thinks he wants a reservation for seven people.
Google Assistant corrects her and says the reservation would be for four people. The restaurant says it only accepts reservations for larger parties, so the Google Assistant asks about wait times for the night in question.
In both examples, the Google Assistant sounded like a real person; Google even added some human-like vocal quirks, like “um” and “hmm.”
For now, Duplex is limited to what it knows. “One of the key research insights was to constrain Duplex to closed domains, which are narrow enough to explore extensively. Duplex can only carry out natural conversations after being deeply trained in such domains. It cannot carry out general conversations,” Google said in a blog post.
Google will start testing Duplex this summer within the Google Assistant, at which point it will be able to help users make restaurant reservations, schedule hair salon appointments, and get holiday hours over the phone.
To tide you over, Google today rolled out six new voices for your Google Assistant. Later this year, it will also get a little star power in the form of musician John Legend.
Also coming in the next few weeks is Continued Conversation, which will let you ask multiple questions at once without having to say “Hey Google” over and over.
Finally, if you cringe as your kid barks commands at your digital assistant, Google will add a “Pretty Please” feature, which will reward your kids for being polite when interacting with the Google Assistant.
Apple is reportedly cracking down on apps in the App Store that are sharing location date with third parties. (Credit: REUTERS/Stephen Lam) Apple is reportedly kicking third-party apps that share users’ locations out of the App Store, as privacy remains in the spotlight in the wake of the Facebook/Cambridge Analytica scandal and pending regulation across...
An autonomous minesweeper system that can safely clear sea lanes of mines has been handed over to the Royal Navy (Crown Copyright 2018 ) The U.K.’s Royal Navy is harnessing a sophisticated autonomous robot minesweeper to clear high-tech sea mines. The system developed by Atlas Elektronik UK was recently handed over to the Royal Navy...