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Google today announced it will bring Duplex, the conversational AI that makes phone calls on a user’s behalf to do things like schedule appointments or restaurant reservations, to Pixel 3 smartphones in November. Pixel 3 smartphones start shipping Oct. 18.
Duplex will first be made available in New York, Atlanta, Phoenix and the San Francisco Bay Area, a company spokesperson told VentureBeat in an email.
Google released a series of new devices today in a hardware event in New York City, including the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL smartphones, the Google Home Hub with smart display, the Pixel Stand for the Pixel 3, and the Pixel Slate tablet and keyboard.
Duplex with Google Assistant was first introduced to the world in May at the I/O developer conference, in a move that shocked a lot of people.
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At the time, Duplex drew quick criticism for failing to start the call by identifying itself as a bot, something that is now illegal in California. The human-sounding voice made with WaveNet AI casually drops in “umms” and “uhhs” to mimic human behavior, details that also hit a creepy nerve for some people.
Google would later announce that Duplex begins each call by identifying itself as a machine, as can be seen in the video below.
Duplex trials began this summer, with simple calls to request store hours. Results of those trials have not yet been shared publicly, though prior to their beginning, Google said roughly 80 percent of trial calls up until that point could be completed without the help of a human.
Also introduced today: Call Screen, which lets Pixel users read a real-time transcript of why a person is calling before answering the phone.
Call Screen is similar to Duplex and will also begin calls by identifying itself as not human.
Updated 1:05 pm Oct. 15: This story was updated to clarify that Duplex will be available in November and Pixel 3 smartphones will be available Oct. 18.
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