Two years ago at I/O, Google’s annual developer’s conference, the company took everyone by surprise by showing off an artificial intelligence tool that would have the ability call local businesses, restaurants, barber shops and more and book appointments on your behalf. It felt like something out of a Sci-Fi movie and it was certainly ahead of its time. By ahead of its time, I also mean to say that it was being shown off way before it was ready. It did become available on phones via the Assistant last year, but today, Google has confirmed that you can now at least book a haircut with Duplex right through Google Maps and Search.
While we were unable to request a haircut appointment at any of our local businesses through Maps on the web or the Google Play app, we did include a visual reference of the process below from 9to5Google. It could be that it will take time to roll out for everyone. It looks like specific hair salons and barber shops now have a ‘Schedule’ tab on their Maps or Search listing. After choosing the general haircut type you would like with the ‘request’ button next to it and providing a preferred date and time for the appointment, you can then type in your contact information and the first name of the stylist you prefer, if you have one. Google will then call that business and speak with a human representative in order to slot you in.
Duplex will also work for booking movie tickets and restaurant table reservations in the near future and it will be wild to see how else they apply this technology to our modern societal needs and desires. I have to admit that this is insanely surreal and incredible all at once. You can learn all about Google Duplex in the video below. The technology uses natural language processing or NLP for short and can understand human speech nuances like pauses, filler words and more and spookily enough even uses its own in a way that may make it impossible for the recipient of the Duplex call to tell the difference between it and a real person. There seems to be little to no wait time between the individual speaking and Duplex processing that information and formulating a natural reply. Shortly after the call ends, Google will send you a confirmation email with your appointment details. Now all we need is for a celebrity voice like Morgan Freeman or Iron Man’s Jarvis to book our appointments!