We’re far enough away from the height of the coronavirus lockdown than in most places it’s easy enough to find a place willing to cut your hair. Google has a new product that many people would’ve probably appreciated when business first began reopening, and throngs of customers were coming in for haircuts. Google Duplex, the AI chat agent, has been updated to add a new trick to its bag with the ability to have Google Assistant call and schedule an appointment at the salon or barber without the user needing to place the call themselves.
Interestingly, booking haircuts was among the features that Google originally showed off in 2018, but when the service debuted, it could only make restaurant reservations. It was also later revealed that some of those calls weren’t placed by the AI agent, rather an actual human called. The new feature can be used from any device running the Google Assistant app or Google Search or Maps access.
It’s very similar to the existing restaurant reservation service in how it works. Users would tap on the Request an Appointment button on Search or Maps and would get three options. Those options include men’s hair cut, woman’s haircut, or general haircut. The user then chooses the preferred appointment date and time range. Users can note if they’ve been to the business before and can choose a specific stylist’s name.
Duplex will also provide the business with contact information, including name, phone number, and email. Duplex will then ring the company and use natural language processing to provide information to the business receptionist or scheduler without interrupting. The service is also able to handle delays, accents, and unanticipated questions.
Duplex does make it clear the call is automated at the beginning of the exchange and won’t call late at night or early in the morning. Duplex also informs the person on the other end of the phone call that the call is being recorded. However, the person on the other end of the call does have the option to not be recorded.