Google Duplex’s haircut-booking feature could help short-handed businesses

Over two years after first demonstrating it onstage at Google I/O 2018, Google has quietly rolled out haircut appointment booking for Google Duplex, its AI chat agent. VentureBeat has discovered that users with supported devices in the U.S. can have Google Assistant call barbershops, hairstylists, and salons to reserve appointments on their behalf without having to place calls themselves.

Booking a haircut was the use case Google chose to spotlight when it unveiled Duplex to the world in May 2018. Evidently, it proved to be a technological challenge; post-reveal, Google seemingly shelved haircut appointment booking in favor of restaurant reservations, which launched in November 2018 for owners of Pixel-branded devices. In light of the pandemic, the focus of Duplex’s development has pivoted from bookings to store hours and inventory check-ins, as well as expansion beyond the U.S. to the U.K., Australia, Canada, Mexico, New Zealand, and Spain in languages including Spanish.

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