Another service of Google on the web is turning down as per the company’s latest announcement on the official page. Google Duplex- the AI-enabled service tool that allows users to navigate through sites to order food, book tickets and more- will no longer be available on its web version after 2022.
As the company is currently working on users’ feedback and AI-based voice technology to make Google Duplex better for everyday use, they have decided to shut down the web version for all users completely.
The Google Duplex web version was introduced in 2019 as the expansion of its Phone reservation AI. Initially, the feature was used to help android and chrome users navigate various entertainment websites, save their card details, book movie tickets, and other services.
However, later on, the company focused more on users’ privacy and to prevent data breach incidents, the assistant got restricted to tracking discounts and checking flights or other services.
The Google Duplex promised the users that the platform would let them use a Google assistant to give any command, show the relevant page related to it and fill in their details through Gmail or Chrome Autofill to make bookings and purchase easier.
However, the rollout was not fast, as very few carriers and platforms agreed to partner for this. Android was the only platform that decided to work with the web version of Google Duplex, with the assistant coming to Chrome in late 2019 as “Assistant in Chrome”.
While figuring out why the company is closing down the Google Duplex web version, TechCrunch suggested that it might be due to the cost involved in the AI training to parse websites for details.
Per the Google Web Support page, the assistant used a special AI technology to crawl the websites several times a day to get trained on how these sites work from the users’ perspective. It was indeed resource-intensive and complicated as, several times, the site owners blocked the crawler from indexing the content.
All these limitations imply that the web version of Google Duplex is not getting used too often as the device owners prefer its voice functionality to manage their calls through “Direct My Call” or “Hold for Me” features. They let the users make the calls through a tap rather than interacting with a physical keypad.
So, while it is sad that the web version won’t be available for long now, the reprioritization of voice functionality for mobile devices makes a lot of sense.