Google introduced new products and technology upgrades at its annual developer conference on Tuesday that showed the internet giant lagging behind Apple Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. in some areas while driving home its superiority in artificial intelligence.
The feature that got the most attention on the first day of the I/O developer show was called Duplex. It’s part of the Google Assistant, a voice-controlled system that answers questions and performs an increasing array of tasks on command. It competes with Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri. A demonstration on stage showed Google’s Assistant calling small businesses to book appointments. A Google executive asked the system to make a restaurant reservation and when a human there picked up the phone, the software discussed different times, the number of seats and other details with the unsuspecting employee. Duplex is launching as an experiment soon, the company said. Google Assistant also is getting some new voices, including musician John Legend’s.