What is Google Duplex?

No, it won't be able to call Mom and have a conversation on your behalf. Not yet, at least.

Jason Cipriani Contributing Writer, ZDNet
Jason Cipriani is based out of beautiful Colorado and has been covering mobile technology news and reviewing the latest gadgets for the last six years. His work can also be found on sister site CNET in the How To section, as well as across several more online publications.
Jason Cipriani
2 min read

During Google's annual developer conference, the company previewed Google Duplex. The new technology has caused quite a stir since it was unveiled, making some feel creepy while others debate privacy implications. 

Watch this: Google Duplex worries me

While everyone waits to learn more about Google Duplex and see it in action, let's take a look at what's currently known about the fascinating technology.

What is Duplex?

Google Duplex is the technology behind a new Google Assistant feature. Duplex is a completely automated system that places calls on your behalf, complete with a natural-sounding human voice instead of a robotic one.

Furthermore, Duplex is able to understand "complex sentences, fast speech and long remarks" according to Google.

For those looking to dig into the geekier side of how Google Duplex works, check out this post, complete with a handful of recorded call samples.

What can it do?

When Google Duplex is made available in beta this summer, you can use it to complete three tasks: schedule a hair appointment, make reservations at a restaurant and get holiday hours of a business.

If the business you've asked Google Assistant to book an appointment with accepts online reservations, Assistant will use that to complete the task. Otherwise, Assistant/Duplex will call the business on your behalf.

How do you use it?

Details aren't exactly clear, but the process will involve telling Google Assistant something along the lines of, "Call XYZ restaurant and make a reservation for four people Friday night at 7."

Watch this: Robot or human? Google Assistant will leave you guessing

From that point, Google Assistant and Google Duplex will place the call, talk to whoever answers the phone at the restaurant and add the appointment to your calendar when it's finished. 

Is it… creepy?

Yes, a bit. The idea of not knowing if you're talking to a computer or a real person is incredibly creepy. For its part, Google has said it will build in the requirement to inform those on the line that the call is with Google Assistant (or Google Duplex) for transparency.

When can I use it?

Google said tduring the Google I/O opening keynote that the Duplex portion of Google Assistant would launch in the "coming weeks" as a beta . Not much else is known about exact timing or any limitations and restrictions. Potentially, you could have access to Duplex this summer, but odds are you'll be waiting a bit longer.

The coolest things we saw at Google I/O

See all photos