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Google Duo audio calling reportedly arriving soon to Google Home speakers

Google is making a big play to bring Google Duo video calling to the broadest possible range of platforms. Initially released for two-way video calls on Android and iOS smartphones, the next step was tablets, then on the web for Windows and iOS computers and Chromebooks, and most recently the camera-less Google Home Hub (video incoming, audio outgoing). Now it appears two-way audio-only Duo calls may be possible soon on Google Home smart speakers, according to Android Police.

When reviewers discovered the ability to make Duo calls on the Google Home Hub, albeit with incoming video only, Google confirmed the Home Hub could only support audio for the outgoing side of Duo calls. Oddly, however, two-way audio-only calls were not supported.

Early indications of audio-only Duo calls with Google Home speakers occurred when two users reported success in setting up and completing calls. In one case the consumer was setting up a new Google Home Mini when a screen popped up that stated the user could, “Use your existing Duo account for audio calls on your Google Home Mini. Your friends and family can reach you at [redacted].”

@corbindavenport Hi Corbin, I was setting up my home mini and this showed up, calls coming to speakers maybe?

— SÃNISDAUM, FRIZINCOU (@gblandro) February 28, 2019

A second user Tweeted a screenshot of the same the same message. The original tipster couldn’t get Duo to make an audio call from speaker to speaker at first, but he soon received help from another user.

Not working here :(

— SÃNISDAUM, FRIZINCOU (@gblandro) March 1, 2019

After exchanging tips on making it work, both users reported success complete with video proof.

Works fine

— SÃNISDAUM, FRIZINCOU (@gblandro) March 1, 2019

So last thing: video proof!

— David (@D_Slawotsky) March 1, 2019

If you own a Google Home or Google Home Mini smart speaker, here’s how to check whether you can make Duo audio-only calls with your device:

  1. First off, if you don’t already have a free Google Duo account, register for an account on your smartphone, tablet, or computer.
  2. Start the Google Home app on your smartphone.
  3. Tap the Account icon (lower right on Android phones).
  4. Tap the Settings menu item (on the left side).
  5. Tap the Services tab (on the header row).
  6. Tap Voice & video calls (first menu item on the left).
  7. Tap Video & Voice Apps.
  8. Look at the Availability section, on the lower part of the Video & Voice Apps screen.
    1. If your Google Home or Google Home Mini is listed, you should be good to go.
    2. If all you see in the Availability section is “Available on Smart Displays,” which is what I saw on my Google Home app screen, check back in a few days.

Based on the assumption that Google is likely to roll out Duo audio-only calls for Google Home smart speakers soon, we’ll keep checking and will cycle back with an update either when we get it working or when Google makes a public announcement about the feature.

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Bruce Brown
Digital Trends Contributing Editor Bruce Brown is a member of the Smart Homes and Commerce teams. Bruce uses smart devices…
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