April 5, 2019
Google has quietly announced that its Duplex automated calling tech is now available to users with non-Pixel Android phones and even Apple iPhones.
In an update to the Duplex support page, Google expanded the service’s availability from the Google Pixel line of phones, in a limited number of states, to pretty much all phones on the market.
This means that more people than ever will be able to let their phone’s AI make simple calls for them. Booking a restaurant for dinner? Or making an appointment at the dentist? You’re far too busy for all that – let Google do it for you.
How Can You Get Google Duplex?
Google Duplex is available to Android phones running Android 5 Lollipop or later. Lollipop launched back in 2014, so if you’re not running it, you really should be.
Duplex will also be available to iPhones that have the Google Assistant app installed. It’s free to download, and works with iPhones running iOS 10 or later. Again, this is a pretty old version of iOS, so you should be fine. For the system to work properly, though, you’ll need Google Calendar installed, so Duplex can check when you’re free.
However, Duplex only currently works in 43 American states. If you live in the following seven states, Google Assistant won’t be able to carry out your menial phone calls:
The service also isn’t available outside the US yet. Tough luck, rest of the world.
What is Google Duplex?
Duplex is Google’s tool for making automated, simple phone calls. The idea is that Google will book restaurants and hair appointments for you, saving you time to do other stuff.
At the moment, it can only make pretty simple transactional phone calls – although, it is remarkably convincing at being a person. It’s unlikely to fool your grandparents, though, so you can’t outsource your weekly phone calls with them to Google.
Some have voiced concerns that Duplex is a badly-judged step into automation. Telemarketers could use the tech to automate spam calls, potentially preying on vulnerable people. Younger people, myself included [ed – are you still young?], already don’t like making phone calls at the best of times, and this might heighten the problem even more.
People in customer-facing roles might be concerned, too. After all, if an AI can make the phone calls, what’s to stop it receiving and dealing with calls as well?
Companies can opt out of receiving Duplex calls, though, which might help slow the inevitable march of automation. You, of course, can choose not to make them, too. Who knows? Your dentist may treat you more kindly as a result.
Read more about Google, AI and the future on Tech.co
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