The iPhone Is Getting Google's Crazy AI That Uses a Robot Voice to Book You a Table
If you've got one of Google's Pixel devices, you can now offload the task of making restaurant reservations over the phone to the Google Assistant in more than 40 states. And Google says that capability is coming to more smartphones in the near future — including Apple's iPhone.
Credit: Tom's GuideGoogle made the announcement today (March 6) in a blog post touting the wider availability of Duplex, a cool (and mildly creepy) technology that lets Google Assistant dial up local businesses and make reservations on your behalf like it's a real person on the other end of the phone line.
Google Assistant now can make Duplex calls on Pixel phones in 43 states — tough luck, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska and Texas — with the feature moving beyond Google's phones shortly.
"Over the next few weeks, we’ll start slowly bringing this feature to more Android and iOS devices, and will continue to incorporate feedback as we continue testing," Google's blog post read.
The addition of Duplex-powered features to the iOS version of Google Assistant is big news, though not really out of character for Google. The search giant has frequently updated its assistant on iOS with features such as a daily snapshot of appointments and other info and built-in Google Lens support. Google even added support for Siri Shortcuts in iOS 12, letting you launch its assistant on your iPhone with a voice command.
Adding Duplex support would top all that. Google first unveiled the feature last year at its developer conference, demoing how its assistant could place phone calls on your behalf to restaurants, booking reservations with a very natural-sounding voice. The assistant identifies itself as AI on calls, a move Google announced after some people expressed concerns about how that voice might fool anyone answering a phone call into thinking they were talking to another human being.
When you tell the Google Assistant to make a reservation, it calls the restaurant you've specified to book the number of seats and the time you've requested. If it pulls off that task, you get a notification, as well as an email update and a calendar invite with the reservation info.