Google Duplex on the Web No More
Google Duplex is no longer available as a web service, leaving only the phone-based version of the Google Assistant service for automated reservations and ticket purchases. The feature never extended much beyond its initial tests with movie tickets and car rentals, but the official shuttering comes after a long silence from Google about Duplex and its future on the web.
Duplex started in the U.S. in 2018 as a purely voice-based service whereby Google Assistant would call restaurants and, eventually, barber shops to set up appointments on behalf of a user. Duplex even calls businesses to check inventory status. Despite some controversy when it came out that humans were making some Google Duplex calls, Google announced that it would be a web service that would fill in user data from their Google account to automate purchases online, starting with movie tickets. The user would ask Google Assistant for movie times and theaters as usual and then asks the voice assistant to buy the tickets. Google Assistant would then fill in all the forms and purchase the tickets using responses from the user and information saved in their phone and Chrome profile, including payment information. Eventually, car rentals became an option, but not much else.
The web version of Duplex might have overcome the slow rollout and limited use cases, as sometimes features take a while to get off the ground. Google linking Duplex to Android to streamline ordering food from restaurants arguably marked the feature as doomed in light of Google’s overall strategy this year. Android is the center of Google Assistant now, as evidenced by the company’s sunsetting of Google Conversational Actions in favor of Android apps.