The Google Duplex voice AI service is adding questions about inventory to its phone calls with businesses. The AI has expanded its remit beyond making reservations and information gathering as a way of helping consumer and businesses deal with the potential shortfall of certain items during the current COVID-19 health crisis.
Google Duplex applies Google Assistant technology to call businesses and check opening times, make appointments, and otherwise as act as a semi-independent agent for a Google Assistant user. Now, when someone at a store speaks with the AI, they may get asked about whether they have certain items in stock, and how much is available. The updated support page for Google Duplex refers to them as “in-demand inventory,” suggesting that the products it asks about will vary among different businesses.
“To help consumers make more informed decisions about when to leave the house during social distancing, we’re experimenting with ways to surface the availability of critical products such as toilet paper, hand sanitizer and cleaning solutions,” a Google spokesperson told Voicebot in an emailed statement.
As the statement indicates, the new questions have grown out of the ongoing pandemic. Though there hasn’t yet been a national shortage of any of those items, there have been reports of people buying as much toilet paper and cleaning supplies as possible, which could mean some stores are out