Google Announces End of “Duplex on the Web”, Purge Continues

Artificial intelligence is at the heart of Google’s strategy for developing its products. And among those who have greatly benefited from the company’s advances in artificial intelligence is Google Assistant.

Thanks to Google research, Assistant is now able to transcribe voice commands from its users without an internet connection. The assistant has also acquired many smart functions, including Duplex.

When Google presented this technology in 2018, Google made a very strong impression. Duplex is a Google Assistant feature that can make phone calls so you can make reservations. For example, where this feature is available, the user can ask Google Assistant to reserve a restaurant table for them.

Once the request has been accepted by the assistant, Duplex calls the restaurant, enters into a dialogue with it and reserves the table. The idea is, as always, to save the user time.

Duplex on the web, a 2.0 autocomplete?

After introducing Duplex in 2018, Google introduced a new product called Duplex on the web the following year. Also using artificial intelligence, Google offers another Assistant feature that fills out online registration forms for the user.

“Just ask the assistant ‘Book a car with National for my next trip’ and they’ll take care of the rest. The assistant will navigate the site and enter your information, such as travel information stored in your Gmail account or payment information stored in Chrome”Google explained.

Image: Google

In essence, it was a kind of autocomplete 2.0 (when Google Chrome automatically fills in form fields) that the user hardly has to do when registering on an online service.

Unfortunately, if the technology seemed promising when it was launched, it ultimately did not have the expected success. And at a time when the crisis forces Google to tighten its belt and optimize its resources, the company decides to end the development of “Duplex on the web”.

The end of a promising AI

It is not known when Google decided to end this project as there was no announcement. However, a Google help page indicates that as of December 2022, Duplex on the web technology is obsolete. “All automation features enabled by Duplex on the web will no longer be supported after this date,” it also reads.

The good news is that Duplex will continue to exist, as this deprecation only affects the part that automatically filled out forms on websites.

“As we continue to improve the Duplex experience, we’re responding to feedback we’ve heard from users and developers about how we can make it even better,” a Google spokesperson was quoted by Engadget as saying. He specified that the company will focus on the “vocal” part of Duplex, which would be more useful.

Google’s graveyard is growing

Duplex on the web functionality joins the very long list of products and services that the company has killed off. Among the other Google apps and services soon to disappear is Stadia, the company’s cloud gaming service. Currently, Google is in the process of refunding player purchases on this platform.

Unfortunately, the macroeconomic context should encourage the company to kill even more products and services when these are not a hit. Although the situation at Google is no worse than Meta, the company also needs to tighten its belt and optimize its resources.
Google Assistant would be put in the background

It should also be noted that Google is ending the development of the web version of Google Duplex, while rumors have recently suggested that as part of the reorganization, Google could put Google Assistant on the back burner. More precisely, according to an article by The Information, Google has decided to reduce the number of engineers working on its personal assistant and to allocate more resources to the development of its Pixel devices.

Essentially, the idea would be to increase the market share of Pixel smartphones to counter Apple and fill the void left by some Android smartphone makers.


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