At today’s Search On event, Google provided an update on the state of Duplex. This includes how the conversational technology has been deployed amidst the pandemic and work on shopping and ordering capabilities for Google Duplex on the web.

Amidst COVID-19, Google has been using Duplex to call businesses and automatically update store hours, as well as get information about takeout or no-contact delivery, for Maps and Search. This means business owners do not have to manually update listings.

Google last year started using Duplex at scale in the US and expanded it to eight countries during the pandemic. Since then, “over 3 million updates to businesses like pharmacies, restaurants and grocery stores that have been seen over 20 billion times in Maps and Search.”

The company says it still has a “way to go towards having truly natural-feeling conversations with machines.” Google touts language understanding and other advancements as leading to “significant improvements in quality.” Today, 99% of Duo calls “are entirely automated,” with that last percentage point being the domain of human back-ups.

The Duplex brand also applies to other features that get things, especially tedious, multi-step tasks, done on your behalf. After launching for movie tickets last year, Duplex — referred to as “Google Assistant in Chrome” — is being piloted for shopping and food ordering.

As such, users do not have to tap every single item on a form and can just verbally tell Google what they want, while other information is pre-filled. 

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