The new Google Home feature announced back in May is now released to the company’s smart speaker users. Google’s smart speaker has now learned how to place a voice call. The feature was rolled out recently in the US and Canada. On hearing the name of a contact from the user’s list, Google Assistant on Google Home devices can place a call. The service does not involve any commercials at this point – it is free, so long as the call recipient is in one of the two countries.
The new feature is a step to challenge Amazon and its Echo devices, which have calling and messaging features, but the approach seems to be different, including the way the function works. Google Home is once again looking like the better home speaker platform for consumers and business users. Amazon voice calls on the Echo smart speaker are restrictive, in that calls are only allowed with other Echo users, whereas Google Home is much broader, allowing calls to be made to anyone from the user’s contact list (Google contacts) as well as local businesses, which Google already has in its search repository.
To place the call through a Google Home smart speaker, the user just has to say “Ok Google, call ” or a preferred phrase like “Hey or Hi Google” for the app to perform its function.
Before placing the call, ensure that all your contacts are in Google Contacts. When making the call, you have to call out the contact’s name as it is stored, such as “Call Home” or Call Office.” You can also call out the number to be dialed.
The calling feature on Google Home is through Wi-Fi, so it does not rely on any mobile data plan, unlike when you do the same on your smartphone, which is actually a different feature altogether because it uses the phone app to place the call through your provider’s telephony network. In fact, that might be one of the reasons that it does not support 911 calls.
If the call is placed through Google Home, and if the recipient is not a Google Voice or Project Fi user, the number will not be displayed; it will be shown as “Unknown” or “No Caller ID”. Not many will respond to such calls, so Google is working on that aspect and expects to come up with the solution by end of this year.
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