The company has filed a trademark for its Duplex voice assistant technology and Fi, its telecom service, with the Canadian Intellectual Property Office. Duplex is an AI that can call restaurants to make a reservation, for example (it’s been criticized for its eerily human-like speech), and Fi offers phone plans for US$20 per month through mobile carriers Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular and Three. (MobileSyrup)
Talking point: As of now, Duplex only operates in a few U.S. cities, including New York, Atlanta and Phoenix; Fi, which launched in 2015, is only available through U.S. carriers. The trademark filings indicate that Google could be looking to bring these technologies to Canada. The new Fi trademark is particularly interesting, given the limited options Canadians have for mobile plans. The trademark filings, however, don’t necessarily mean those technologies will be used here—Google could just be protecting its intellectual property from competitors. If Google does come here, the federal government may welcome it. As The Logic reported earlier this year, a secret government analysis found no downside to letting foreign players compete with the Big Three.