Google is killing “Duplex on the Web,” an automatic website navigation feature

Zoom in / After you hit the Buy Tickets button, Google Assistant takes over.

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Google is closing a somewhat obscure project: Google Duplex on the Web. “Duplex” is Google’s trademark for AI that does “simple yet familiar tasks that save you time.” The brand exists on two products: this “web” feature and a Google feature Voice impersonating human AI, which is still in operation as far as we know. This version of Duplex — Duplex on the Web — was a Google Assistant feature that could autonomously navigate websites on your behalf and do things like buy items and check-in for a ride. This feature can not be very popular, and Techcrunch observer Support page The update that Duplex on the Web will be dead by the end of the month.

Couples on the web Launched in late 2019 and was announced earlier that year at Google I/O. The normal process of checking out an item involves a lot of navigation and pasting of saved data. You’ll need to find the item and maybe the time period you want if it’s a reservation, enter your billing information, and mix Up Next a lot, and Duplex on the Web was supposed to be able to do all of that independently. While it would probably be faster and more reliable if companies just built a voice API, Duplex on the Web was a hack. The assistant will bring up their web browser and individually click on exit screens while watching. In theory, Google’s automated mouse clicker could have evolved so well that it could provide audio support for a website without requiring any work from the website owner.

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Now, though, he’s dead. Google’s support page states that “Duplex on the Web is deprecated and will no longer be supported as of later this month. Any automation features enabled by Duplex on the Web will no longer be supported after this date.” Google told TechCrunch, “By the end of this year, we’ll abandon Duplex on the Web and focus entirely on making AI advancements in Duplex voice technology that help people so much every day.”

We’ll take a wild guess and say that Duplex on the Web is dying because of a lack of usage. one of the (many) The problems with voice assistants are that they are basically Command line interfaces. There is no user interface or buttons to tell people as to what functions are available, so users have to do that I know What commands are worth saying. Most people can probably guess “what’s the weather like tomorrow?” Valuable, but very few people probably know that the Assistant can independently navigate a website to buy a movie ticket or check-in for a flight on your behalf. CLIs at least contain a Help command that displays a large list of commands. With no comprehensive list of acceptable commands for Google Assistant, it’s not clear how anyone is supposed to learn about these features.

Besides the eternal problem of discoverability, it’s not clear that this feature has actually solved a problem. It’s not exactly difficult to buy something online or check-in for a flight because companies are trying to make these things as simple as possible already.

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