In the future, Google Assistant is gaining a wild futuristic feature where it can make phone calls to restaurants and hair salons, for example. In essence, users can have Assistant make a call on their behalf that sounds natural and understands nuance, while being able to fail gracefully if it cannot handle the call.
For example, users can just ask Assistant to make an appointment after noting details like time, day, and visit type. On the backend, Assistant automatically makes the call on behalf of the user, with a completely natural voice that is indistinguishable from a human due to recent Google advancements. If there’s an online booking service, Assistant will just use that.
This is a combination of Google’s long running efforts with Sundar Pichai noting that it is all coming together under “Google Duplex.”
The technology is directed towards completing specific tasks, such as scheduling certain types of appointments. For such tasks, the system makes the conversational experience as natural as possible, allowing people to speak normally, like they would to another person, without having to adapt to a machine.
Google is still experimenting with this feature. Testing will begin this summer within the Google Assistant. Initial capabilities include restaurant reservations, scheduling hair salon appointments, and getting holiday hours over the phone.