How to book a movie ticket online?



Google is selling movie tickets through Duplex, its AI-powered booking system

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Google lets you order movie tickets through the Google Assistant.
Juan Garzon / CNET
Google is launching Duplex on the Web, a booking service that's basically autofill on steroids. The tool is designed to let people more easily buy movie tickets online, the company said Thursday.
The service is available on Android phones. To use it, you'd ask the Assistant -- Google's digital helper software akin to Amazon's Alexa and Apple's Siri -- to look up showtimes for a particular movie in your area. The software then opens up Google's Chrome browser and finds the tickets. 
Duplex on the Web is like autofill on steroids.
Google
For the tool, Google partnered with 70 movie theater and ticket companies, including AMC, Fandango and Odeon. Google announced the service in May at the company's annual I/O developer conference. The search giant will eventually expand the booking system to include car rental reservations. 
This version of Duplex is much tamer than last year's debut, which freaked out audiences from the very moment Google CEO Sundar Pichai presented the demo. The artificial intelligence software is patterned after human speech, using verbal tics like "uh" and "um." It speaks with the cadence of a real person, pausing before responding and elongating certain words as though it's buying time to think.
At the time, the service was available only for booking restaurants and hair appointments. The demo immediately raised flags for AI experts, industry watchers and consumers, who worried about the ethics of creating robots that could fool people into thinking they were talking to other humans. Google later said it would build in disclosures so people would know they were talking to automated software. 
Here's how the new version, for ordering movie tickets, works: Once you've asked the Assistant for movie tickets, the software opens up a ticket website in Chrome and starts filling in fields. The system enters information in the form by using data culled from your calendar, Gmail inbox and Chrome autofill (like your credit card and login information). 
Throughout the process, you see a progress bar, like you'd see if you were downloading a file. Whenever the system needs more information, like a price or seat selection, the process pauses and prompts you to make a selection. When it's done, you tap to confirm the booking or payment.

Google Assistant can now book movie tickets for you all by itself

Google Assistant is getting consistently better. This week, Google launched a new feature to Assistant that allows it to essentially book movie tickets. It’s a pretty handy feature that completes the process for you in a matter of seconds.
The feature basically allows you to ask Assistant to book tickets for a movie, after which a “Buy tickets” button will pop up with movie times and walk you through the movie-booking process. That’s all without needing to navigate through any websites yourself or download any extra apps. It’s kind of like autocomplete on steroids.
According to Google, the feature works with more than 70 cinemas and movie-booking services, including the likes of Fandango, AMC, and more. It works with cinemas in the U.K. too, including Odeon.
It’s important to note that all the work here is being done by Google Assistant — and not the cinema services themselves. The likes of Fandango and AMC could have easily coded ways for their apps and services to work with Google Assistant — but in this case, Assistant is using what Google calls “Duplex on the web.” This feature can navigate websites itself, and then complete the purchase of movie tickets — meaning that it heads to the website, finds the movie and time that you want to watch it, presses the correct buttons, and so on. The feature was first announced at Google I/O 2019.
The feature is likely to get smarter as time goes on. While it’s currently limited to booking movie tickets, we wouldn’t be surprised to see it be able to navigate to all kinds of websites and services, book other events, buy products, and more. Currently, the feature only works on a smartphone — but it’s possible it could eventually make its way to Google Home speakers too, which would allow you to book tickets using only your voice.
In fact, we already know that the feature is set to be expanded in the near future. At Google I/O, Google demonstrated how the feature could be used to book car rentals — and Google says that feature is the next to be released. It’s currently unclear exactly when that new feature will be rolled out to customers.

Google Assistant can now navigate websites, book movie tickets

After you press the "buy tickets" button, the Google Assistant takes over. Enlarge / After you press the "buy tickets" button, the Google Assistant takes over.
Google
Google is constantly teaching the Google Assistant new tricks, and this week, the assistant is learning how to navigate websites and book movie tickets. Soon, after asking your phone-based Google Assistant for movie showtimes, a new "Buy tickets" button will pop up, and tapping it will whisk you through the ticket-buying process—no extra apps required.
Google says the feature works with "more than 70 cinemas and ticketing services, such as Fandango, MovieTickets.com, AMC, or MJR Theaters in the US, or ODEON in the UK." While all of those services could have coded up special hooks for the Google Assistant, that's not what's going on here—instead this feature is powered by a feature Google calls "Duplex on the web." You might remember "Duplex" as Google's futuristic phone-call bot that can book restaurants over the phone while sounding like a real human. This "Duplex on the web" doesn't make phone calls, though, and instead navigates websites for you and completes the movie ticket purchase. Google announced this feature earlier in the year during the Google I/O keynote, where CEO Sundar Pichai defined Duplex as "the approach by which we train AI on simple but familiar tasks to accomplish them and save you time."
Buying movie tickets on your behalf through a website means Google Duplex navigates to the site, searches for a movie, fills in your personal info and your credit card details, and, after a confirmation step, completes the purchase, mashing all the necessary "next" and "buy" buttons along the way. You can watch it do all this yourself on your phone screen, and if there's anything that Duplex doesn't know how to deal with, like making a reservation for a specific seat, it will stop and ask you. We've had autofill for some time, and this is like autofill plus auto-navigation.
The technology to automatically navigate webpages is interesting, but this is something that will generally help only casual movie ticket buyers. If you have a theater's app installed, it probably already saves you most of these clicks and remembers your name, address, credit card, and the other basics. For now, the feature works only on a smartphone, the device where it's already easiest to buy movie tickets, but this technology makes it possible to buy tickets on something like a Google Home speaker, which normally would require a special voice app.
When Google announced the system at I/O 2019, it also demoed car rentals. Google's blog post says that feature is "up next."