Scott Huffman, VP of Engineering for Google Assistant, announced today that in 43 U.S. states, Pixel phone users can now book tables at restaurants using voice commands. All you have to do is say, "Hey Google, book a table for four people at [restaurant name] tomorrow night," and Assistant will use Google's Duplex artificial intelligence technology to call the restaurant and attempt to book the table for you.
If the Assistant completes the booking successfully, you'll receive a notification on your phone and the appointment time will automatically be added to your calendar.
Huffman notes that in the coming weeks, the same functionality will be rolled out to more Android and iOS users and to additional parts of the U.S.
In its help documentation for this feature, Google notes that further functionality is currently being tested with iOS and Android users that would allow Assistant to check, for instance, on the hours of operation for a business. Requests to book a table will sometimes involve coordination between the Assistant and a third-party booking service, but if such a service is not available, the Assistant may call the restaurant directly.
Automated calls include an announcement at the beginning that the call is from Google. If they wish, businesses can opt out of receiving Assistant calls via a setting in the Google My Business dashboard or by calling a dedicated phone line.
The help page also lists the 43 states in which automated calls are currently available.
Here's a video from Google that describes the user experience. It's especially notable how naturalistic the Google Assistant voice interaction sounds.