Google’s Duplex is finally here — sort of.
The company is rolling out the futuristic service to a “small group” of Pixel phones in “select cities” across the United States.
While Google wasn’t specific about which regions would get Duplex, it’s likely previously confirmed cities like New York, Atlanta, Phoenix and San Francisco will see it.
Google says it’s doing a slow rollout to ensure Duplex delivers an excellent experience to Pixel users and businesses alike.
Unfortunately, no Canadian cities will see the feature yet. We reached out to Google about when Canadians could expect to see Duplex, and we’ll update this post with any new information.
Meanwhile, U.S. residents will get to be testers of the Duplex experiment, which is reportedly different from what we saw at Google I/O in May.
According to VentureBeat, Google Duplex can only make restaurant reservations right now. While Duplex is no longer restricted to businesses Google has partnered with, it still doesn’t work with all businesses.
Some restaurants, including ones with public phone numbers, caused Google Assistant to say “Unfortunately, that restaurant only takes reservations online. You’ll have to book with them directly.”
In other cases, the Assistant simply said it couldn’t make reservations at that restaurant.
How Duplex works
To start the process of making a reservation at a restaurant is rather straightforward. You’ll have to say “Hey Google, make a restaurant reservation” or “reserve a table” to initiate the process.
The Assistant will provide restaurant options, which you can refine by cuisine. Once you select a restaurant, Assistant goes into the Duplex reservation process.
Alternatively, you can look up a restaurant first, and if the option is there, you can tap ‘Request a table.’
Once you’re in the reservation process, Assistant will ask for your group size. The current maximum group size is ten — ask for more, and the Assistant will cut off the exchange and tell you it can’t make reservations for large parties yet.
Once you confirm the size of the party, you have to confirm the date. Assistant can make reservations days, weeks and even months in advance. However, VentureBeat found the Assistant couldn’t book a table in 2021 or beyond.
Finally, you’ll have to set up the time and a booking number. By default, it’s your phone number, but you can supply a different one if you want. After, Google verifies all the information is correct — and that’s it.
There’s also a screen to manage reservations, where you can check confirmation status and cancel reservations if need be.
If you’re worried about Duplex not getting things right, Google says it can complete four out of five fully automated tasks. That’s a pretty solid success rate, but hopefully it’s even better when Duplex makes its way to Canada.