How Google Assistant is Using Duplex to Automate Online Purchases

Google Assistant can now fill out website forms to buy movie tickets using the Duplex AI feature. The new ability extends Google Duplex beyond booking services by phone and into automating online tasks.

Digital Assistant Ticket Purchases

Google Duplex debuted last year as a way to use Google Assistant to make phone calls to businesses to arrange appointments and gather information on behalf of the user. The update brings that feature to purchasing movie tickets through the Google Chrome browser on Android smartphones. The user asks Google Assistant for movie times and theaters as usual and then asks the voice assistant to buy the tickets. Google Assistant can fill in all of the forms and purchase the tickets using responses from the user and information saved in their phone and Chrome profile, including payment information. The Duplex feature is limited to buying movie tickets at the moment, but Google has plans to add car rentals and other services soon.

“At the Boxoffice company, we’re constantly seeking new ways to innovate around smooth checkout,” said Marine Suttle, the chief purchasing officer at online movie ticket seller Boxoffice in a statement. “Through Google’s Duplex on the web technology, we will be able to streamline our customers’ movie ticketing purchase experience through the Google Assistant. We think this feature will be incredibly helpful for our users and we look forward to rolling it out.”

Duplex Demands

Google has been working on incorporating the Duplex AI into several new iterations of late. While the original concept of using a voice AI to make calls and book reservations is still central, Duplex took a more proactive approach in a recent pilot program to call businesses in New Zealand to check their holiday hours. The same AI is also used for call screening to send people to voice mail, providing transcripts of the interaction afterward. There are also plans for enabling Google Assistant to stay on hold when the user makes a call.

Bringing the AI powering Duplex to website forms is a logical outgrowth of the technology as it fulfills the purpose of streamlining and speeding up the more tedious elements of digital interactions. The new feature also helps Google in the company’s efforts to encourage people to stay within its tech ecosystem as it funnels people from Google Assistant to Google Chrome, with no announced plans for other browser platforms. And, while the feature only works on Android smartphones at the moment, it’s easy to imagine Google applying the same feature to smart displays and smart TVs as it strives to dominate the smart home market.


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