For the first time, Google is testing the Duplex technology internationally, which was announced on Tuesday. The service will be used to confirm holiday operating hours for a pilot group of New Zealand businesses.
“Businesses in this pilot group will receive an automated call from Google asking to confirm their hours for the upcoming Labour Day public holiday on October 28,” wrote Scott Huffman, Google’s VP of engineering. “Once confirmed, these times will automatically be updated on Google Maps and Search for anyone searching for the business info for the holiday.”
Google is going to disclose to business owners that the calls are automated and businesses have the choice to opt-out of receiving calls from Google over the phone or through their Google My Business settings.
For users, being able to update holiday business hours on Google Maps and Search is a really nice feature, but it is still a ways away from the almost-conversational, multi-step hair appointment and restaurant reservation booking capabilities that Google teased at I/O in 2018. The company also tweeted a preview of how Duplex technology could be applied to car rental booking earlier this year.
As part of Google Assistant in Chrome, Duplex is also being tested on movie ticket booking sites. But, car rentals and haircut scheduling have yet to be formally announced.