Google today announced its Duplex AI feature will roll out to Pixel 3 owners next month, but that’s not the only cool new AI experience they’ll get. A new call-screening and response feature will launch with Duplex, and it could mean an end to spam calls. Telemarketers: Your days are numbered.
Duplex is the futuristic jaw-dropping AI the company showed off earlier this year that calls businesses to schedule appointments for you autonomously. It’s finally making its way to English language customers sometime next month and, along with it, a robust new update to Google’s call screening AI is slated for debut as well.
The company, at its Pixel hardware event, said the Pixel 3’s on-device AI will offer the option for users to choose “Call screening” instead of the typical answer or ignore buttons when receiving a call.
The AI will answer calls on your behalf and explain to the caller you’re screening your calls, then it prompts them to state their name and reason for calling. It will then transcribe whatever the caller says, send you a text message, and give you reply options. You can choose to take the call, ignore the call, or even block the caller permanently and report it as spam. Basically, if you don’t want to, you’ll never have to talk to a telemarketer or listen to a robocall again.
Duplex is the logical next-step for virtual assistants. It’s nice that, today, I can get news and weather from Google Assistant. And with a little setup ahead of time I can do things like use an Alexa skill to order Domino’s pizza. But the real value of a virtual assistant – and perhaps AI’s greatest test in the consumer arena – is making it so easy to use that those with access would be silly not to. This might fit the bill.
The new feature is slated to roll out “sometime next month” to Pixel 3 owners. It’s unclear exactly what its limitations will be or if it’ll work ubiquitously across calls. Many smart phones already have call-screening software, including Pixel devices, but to the best of our knowledge this is the first interactive call-screening system that basically “protects” you from dealing with calls you don’t want to while making sure you don’t miss anything important.
We can’t wait to go hands-on with the Pixel 3, stay tuned to Plugged for our full review. And don’t forget to check out the rest of our coverage of Google’s Pixel hardware event.