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Google is done with Duplex on the Web

Android Police 12/4/2022 Jules Wang
© Provided by Android Police

Google Assistant is about to get less useful this month. Google is sunsetting its Duplex on the Web service which allowed customers to book tickets or make reservations through a streamlined Assistant-led interface that automatically integrated personal information from the user's Google account.

The company has confirmed this through a note on the feature's associated Search Console Help page as well as an extended statement to TechCrunch.

As we continue to improve the Duplex experience, we're responding to the feedback we've heard from users and developers about how to make it even better [...]By the end of the year, we'll turn down Duplex on the Web and fully focus on making AI advancements to the Duplex voice technology that helps people most every day.

Duplex on the Web went into public testing with a number of partners including AMC and Fandango back in 2019, marketed as a "live" Google Assistant service. It would let users interact with the site for proprietary actions like selecting theater seats, but otherwise guide users through a dedicated interface that enabled them to place Google-stored personal information into form fields automatically. It later expanded with a password management feature, warning users when their credentials have been exposed.Partners for Duplex on the Web have been notified of the closure.This was a feature branch from the original Duplex service Google launched in 2018 where a natural-sounding, but automated voice concierge would book appointments and tables at local businesses by phone on behalf of Google Assistant users.If we're being completely honest, there are competing and even complementary services that do the tasks Duplex on the Web takes care of — from Google's own Autofill to Chrome's built-in password leak detector from 2019 — without the need to train a computing model for days and weeks on end. Sure, maybe given enough time, investment, and care, Duplex on the Web might have gained a uniquely useful automation, but with Google signaling its priorities have moved away from Assistant-branded services, it's hard to see any bit of Duplex lasting under the current economic regime.That said, it's not as much of a loss as Stadia will be. Not counting the cloud streaming platform's beta testing period, it will have last a day shorter than Duplex on the Web did, presuming its final day active was on November 30.

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