Google expands Duplex automated calling to the UK

Support pages detail new regions despite a lack of an official announcement

Google's AI-powered calling service Duplex is now available in the UK, Australia and Canada, as the company releases it beyond the US and New Zealand for the first time.

The change has yet to be officially announced by Google, however changes to the service's support page, first spotted by VentureBeat, show a list of phone numbers that the company will use when calls are made through Duplex from a specific country.

Advertisement - Article continues below

As you may remember from its fairly impressive debut at Google I/O in 2018, the system is designed to integrate with Google Assistant and provide an automated phone service for businesses, handling things like booking appointments and checking opening hours.

Early demos of the technology proved compelling, showing that it was capable of kicking off conversations with humans, asking appropriate follow-up questions, and understanding the nuances of human speech.

In mid-March, when many countries were first starting to adjust to stricter lockdown measures amid the coronavirus crisis, Google CEO Sundar Pichai revealed the company had been using Duplex to contact businesses to confirm their updated operating hours.

This rollout to the UK is part of that effort, and customers outside of the US won't be able to use Duplex to make restaurant reservations just yet, a spokesperson confirmed to VentureBeat.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

However, while the technology itself captured the imagination of many, there were still concerns about consent, as the early versions of Duplex did not make it clear to users that they were speaking to a machine. It also failed to introduce itself, leaving many concerned that users could be tricked into thinking they were speaking to a human, given how well it mimicked natural language.

Since that tech demo, Google has slowly addressed these issues, first by adding disclosure messages before conversations are started, and later by adding an opt-out if customers prefer to speak to a human.

Featured Resources

The case for a marketing content hub

Transform your digital marketing to deliver customer expectations

Download now

Fast, flexible and compliant e-signatures for global businesses

Be at the forefront of digital transformation with electronic signatures

Download now

Why CEOS should care about the move to SAP S/4HANA

And how they can accelerate business value

Download now

IT faces new security challenges in the wake of COVID-19

Beat the crisis by learning how to secure your network

Download now
Advertisement

Most Popular

Visit/security/34616/the-top-ten-password-cracking-techniques-used-by-hackers
Security

The top ten password-cracking techniques used by hackers

5 May 2020
Visit/mobile/5g/355712/nokia-5g-speed-record
5G

Nokia breaks 5G record with speeds nearing 5Gbps

20 May 2020
Visit/cloud/cloud-computing/355742/microsoft-launches-public-cloud-service-for-health-care
cloud computing

Microsoft launches public cloud service for health care

21 May 2020