There are a number of features that make Google Home awesome but perhaps one of the biggest announced at Google I/O was the ability for Home to make phone calls. On Wednesday, that feature is finally rolling out to Google Home owners — meaning you can now ask Assistant to call both people from your contacts and businesses.
The feature goes beyond simply being able to call companies by name. As Google notes in its press release, you could instead ask Assistant to “call the nearest florist,” making the feature much more convenient for those who might not know the names of all the nearest businesses.
Another cool thing about the feature is the fact that Home can distinguish different voices — so if one person in the house asks Assistant to “call mom,” the device will call their mom and not their roommate’s. For now, when you make a call, the person on the other end will see “unknown or “no caller,” though Google intends to change that by the end of the year. That also does not apply to Google Voice or Project Fi users, who can head into the Google Home settings. It also seems as though you can only make outgoing calls through Home — not take incoming calls. The feature is now rolling out to customers in the U.S. and Canada, though it will likely roll out in phases, so if you do not have it yet you may just have to sit tight.
Previous looks at code that came before the rollout gave a little insight into how it works — while some theorized that the feature will still occur through the user’s phone but would use Wi-Fi and Bluetooth to handle the audio. In reality, it looks like the phone number is linked directly to Google Home and calls are handled through Google Voice. The code, spotted by Android Police, also shows that, at least for now, only outgoing calls can be handled through Google Home — and you have to answer incoming calls on your actual phone. It is possible that support for incoming calls will be added in the near future.
As mentioned, the app also offers manual control over which Google Assistant answers any given question. You might have multiple versions of Assistant at your disposal — one on your phone, another on your Google Home speaker, and another on your Android TV. According to Android Police, it is not yet known exactly how you will be able to manually select an Assistant, but a string of code in the update does refer to it being possible — so presumably we were waiting for Google to enable the feature.
Update: Calling feature is now live.
- How to make calls on your Google Home
- How to use Google Assistant, plus all the ‘OK, Google’ commands you need to know
- Here’s how to record phone calls on your Android phone
- How to set up Google Voice on your smartphone
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