Years after wowing with AI-powered real-time chat and holding features, Google’s Duplex is now allowing some users in the US to book haircut and barbershop appointments without you ever needing to make the call yourself.
The feature was actually showcased on stage at Google I/O 2018 but has clearly taken a lot longer to work in the real world so fluidly. Considering it was one of the headline additions, it’s surprising just how long it has taken to come to fruition. According to VentureBeat, a Google spokesperson confirmed that Duplex can now book a haircut using Google Search or Maps.
It works in very much the same way as booking a table in a restaurant or booking tickets on the web. So when tapping on the “Request an Appointment” button from within Google Search or Maps, you can choose from three options: a men’s haircut, a women’s haircut, or a general haircut. We’re really not sure what “general haircut” is referring to — maybe it’s for those of us that are follically challenged?
After selecting which option you want, you can enter a preferred appointment date, time, and time range — which we assume is needed in case your time preference is already booked. You also have to indicate whether you’ve been to the business before and if you have, you can enter the name of a stylist, as well as provide contact information like name, phone number, and email address.
Google Duplex will then take care of the rest by calling the barbershop or hair stylist and the receptionist or person at the other end of the line will book in your haircut. Of course, Duplex uses natural language processing and is able to decipher regional accents, while picking out core information such as dates, times, and more without feeling jarring to the person at the end of the line.
Considering the ethical aspect of Google Duplex booking your haircut, it’s not entirely clear just how people might feel about talking directly to the Google Assistant. But, Google has promised that Duplex will introduce itself first and confirm that the call is being recorded to help ensure things run smoothly.
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