Google is always working on expanding the portfolio of what the Google Assistant can do, and this week, an update enabled it to navigate websites and even book movie tickets. After a user asks their Google Assistant for movie showtimes, they will be prompted with a new button that reads “Buy tickets”. Tapping the button will proceed with the ticket-buying process without requiring any sort of additional app.
According to Google, over 70 cinemas and ticketing services like Fandango, MovieTickets.com and many more.
Even though this might be partly due to the fact that all of those services might include special hooks for the Google Assistant, the credit goes to Google’s “Duplex on the web”.
This feature was announced earlier this year via the Google I/O keynote, where Duplex was presented as:
“The approach by which we train AI on simple but familiar tasks to accomplish them and save you time.”
The process explained
When automatically buying movie tickets online works in a simple to understand way.
Google Duplex navigates to the website, finds the desired movie, completes personal info (including credit card details) and then awaits confirmation. When the user confirms that it is all ok, Duplex finalizes the purchase (without additional user input).
Whenever Duplex finds itself in a situation where it isn’t sure what to do, it asks the user to take control (like when picking seats).
One curious fact about the service is the fact that, back at I/O 2019 they demoed car rentals, which are the next target of the service.