Google Duplex now lets you book restaurants in more US states

Duplex is one of those demonstrations of Google's AI chops that was both awe-inspiring and almost frightening at the same time. It showed how truly smart Google Assistant could be in talking with someone like a real human would. Naturally, it also raised concerns over privacy, recording, and full disclosure, reasons why Google took its time to roll out the feature to more cities. It may have finally gotten over those legal hurdles as it announced the availability of Duplex in 43 of 50 states in the US.

On the surface, Google Duplex looks so easy to use. Simply tell Google Assistant to reserve a table for this many people at this restaurant and it will make the phone call for you. All you need is to wait for the notification of a successful booking either on your phone, in your email, or directly in your Google calendar even. All of this happens in the background without you having to spend your time listening in on a conversation.

That, of course, opens up a can of privacy worms, from disclosing to restaurant receptionists that they're talking to a bot to the recording of that conversation. There's also the issue of the user not being privy to what goes on behind the scenes. This latter was also a concern with Google's Call Screen feature for Android which was later addressed by providing transcripts of the call.

Google trod lightly in rolling out Google Duplex in the US alone. With today's announcement, however, the service immediately jumps to 43 US states, namely Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. That leaves out Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Montana, Indiana, Texas, and Nebraska, where Google might still be navigating the legal waters.

Although it now basically covers the entire US, not all restaurants are covered. In addition, The Verge notes that those restaurants that are already part of the Reserve with Google system are also excluded because those require you to reserve with third-party partners.