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How Will Google Make Money with Duplex?

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Mar. 13 2019, Published 9:33 a.m. ET

Duplex is rolling out broadly

Alphabet’s (GOOGL) Google is expanding the availability of Duplex, its automated restaurant reservation tool. Duplex is rolling out in 43 states in the United States. The rollout follows months of trials in a handful of states since the technology was unveiled last year.

Duplex is an AI-powered chat agent. People in these 43 states will be able to use Duplex in Pixel smartphones to reserve a table at a restaurant. Google is also looking to bring Duplex to iPhones.

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Duplex’s monetization paths

Google’s broader rollout of Duplex signals that it has become more confident in the tool’s ability to do what people expect it to do. But where’s the money for Google in Duplex? Google is currently not discussing Duplex’s monetization, but a 2017 report from Recode provides a clue about how Google might make money with Duplex.

Duplex is an extension of Google Assistant, Google’s voice-operated digital agent. According to the report, one of the monetization paths Google has explored for Google Assistant is e-commerce, which could involve Google’s taking a cut of the sales facilitated by Google Assistant.

Advertising is another monetization option for Google via products such as Google Assistant, and it has conducted experiments on this front. Google generated $32.6 billion in advertising revenue in the fourth quarter.

The brains behind smart speakers

Google Assistant is the brains behind Google’s Home smart speaker. Amazon (AMZN), Yandex (YNDX), and Baidu (BIDU) have their own voice-operated agents called Alexa, Alice, and DuerOS, respectively. Apple has Siri, while Microsoft (MSFT) has Cortana.

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