Calling a restaurant to ask about its waitlist is a pain in the neck, but in time, Google could handle everything for you. Google is currently testing a new Duplex feature that uses AI to call a restaurant and ask to join the waitlist—on your terms, of course.
First announced in 2018, Google Duplex is a powerful AI platform that calls businesses for you. It sounds remarkably human, to the point that it mimics the “ums” and “ahs” of regular conversation. But Duplex hasn’t grown since its debut. It’s just a niche tool that some people use to make reservations or buy movie tickets.
A new restaurant waitlist feature could help put Duplex on peoples’ radar, though. Google is currently testing the feature on select users, including Venture Beat’s Kyle Wiggers, who happened to spot a “Request to Join Waitlist” button in a Google Maps result.
According to Wiggers, Google will ask how many people are in your party before it calls a restaurant to put you on a waitlist. It also asks how long you can wait for a seat. If it can’t secure you a spot on the waitlist, it will text you with the bad news.
While Google Duplex could be useful to you, some restaurants dislike the AI or avoid its calls altogether (Duplex calls have “Google” set as the caller ID). The AI can also get confused when it encounters a difficult conversation, though Google says that human operators only need to step in for 1% of all calls.