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After Pixel Devices, Google Duplex Reaching iOS Users in US Cities

The status of a wider roll-out of Duplex to non-Pixel Android users also remains unclear as of now

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A Google logo is displayed at the entrance to the internet based company's offices in Toronto. VOA

Moving on from Pixel devices, iOS users in the US are getting Google’s voice-calling “Duplex” — that lets Artificial Intelligence (AI) mimic a human voice to make appointments and book tables through phone calls.

The support site for Duplex lists the iPhone as being part of this rollout, with iOS users simply needing Google Assistant installed to get started, 9To5Google reported on Wednesday.

Including New York and San Francisco, Google’s automated calling service has expanded to 43 US states but was stuck firmly on Pixel handsets until now.

The exact number of US cities where the functionality is reaching iOS users remains undisclosed.

Google on an Android device. Pixabay

Google CEO Sundar Pichai introduced Duplex earlier this week in the company’s annual developer’s conference Google I/O and demonstrated how the AI system could book an appointment at a salon and a table at a restaurant.

In the demo, the Google Assistant sounded like a real person that led to an outcry over the ethical dilemmas raised by tech critics.

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Google, however, confirmed later that the system would have a “disclosure built-in” and Duplex would identify itself during interactions.

The status of a wider roll-out of Duplex to non-Pixel Android users also remains unclear as of now. (IANS)

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Google Maps Captures Over 10 mn Miles of Street View Imagery

The company collects street imagery via a fleet of Street View cars, each equipped with nine cameras that capture high-definition imagery from every vantage point possible

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Google Maps
There's also the Street View trekker on Google Maps, a backpack that collects imagery from places where driving isn't possible.

Google Maps have captured more than 10 million miles of Street View imagery – a distance that could circle the globe over 400 times.

The company announced on Friday that Google Earth now lets people browse more than 36 million square miles of high definition satellite images from various providers – covering more than 98 per cent of the entire population – to see the world from above.

“While these stunning photos show us parts of the world we may never get a chance to visit, they also help Google Maps accurately model a world that is changing each day,” said Thomas Escobar, Senior Product Manager, Google Maps.

The idea of Street View started as a side project more than 12 years ago as part of a goal to map the entire world.

The company collects street imagery via a fleet of Street View cars, each equipped with nine cameras that capture high-definition imagery from every vantage point possible.

“These cameras are athermal, meaning that theya�re designed to handle extreme temperatures without changing focus so they can function in a range of environments,” Escobar added.

Each Street View car includes its own photo processing center and lidar sensors that use laser beams to accurately measure distance.

There’s also the Street View trekker, a backpack that collects imagery from places where driving isn’t possible.

These trekkers are carried by boats, sheep, camels, and even scout troops to gather high quality photos from multiple angles, often in some of the hardest-to-map places around the world.

Google Maps
Google Maps have captured more than 10 million miles of Street View imagery – a distance that could circle the globe over 400 times. Pixabay

In 2019 alone, Street View images from the Google Maps community have helped the company assign addresses to nearly seven million buildings in previously under-mapped places like Armenia, Bermuda, Lebanon, Myanmar, Tonga, Zanzibar and Zimbabwe.

Once Google collects photos, it uses a technique called photogrammetry to align and stitch together a single set of images.

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“These images show us critically important details about an area-things like roads, lane markings, buildings and rivers, along with the precise distance between each of these objects. All of this information is gathered without ever needing to set foot in the location itself,” said Google. (IANS)