Google has just announced some new features for Google Home, including hands-free calling and notification sending, to make the smart speaker more similar to the market’s top smart speaker Amazon Echo.
On the first day of Google’s annual developer conference, the company unveiled some key updates for its smart home venture, for Google Home and Google Assistant support.
Few days after Amazon announced it would let Alexa send notifications to be a more proactive assistant, Google is bringing a similar feature to its smart speaker. Users can simply ask “what’s up?” and the speaker will start feeding notifications from different apps. The information provided by Google Home will vary based on each owner’s usage habits. While some hear the traffic status, others may get email updates.
Secondly, just like Amazon Echo, Google Home now lets users do hands-free calling. Calls can be made by simply saying “Ok, Google, call [phone number].” Users may link their phone numbers to the device. By default, the receiver will see a private number calling. According to Google, users living in the U.S. or Canada can make calls via Google Home for free.
It might be more useful than Amazon’s call function, which connects to the cloud and links Alexa assistant in other devices. Landline calls are not available for Alexa users at this point.
Thirdly, Google has introduced a new feature called Shortcuts, allowing users to say customized key words and trigger multiple connected devices at the same time. For example, when they say “workout time,” the device will turn on the light and play the workout playlist.
And finally, when users ask a question which comes with a graphic answer, Google Home will send the answer directly to the user’s phone or television via the Chromecast technique.
More entertainment service providers are supporting Google Home, including Spotify, HBO Now and Soundcloud.
Also, more manufacturers are supporting Google Home and Google Assistant. The list of supported devices announced by Google includes refrigerators, ovens, washers and dryers and air purifier from LG, and air conditioner and water heater from GE. Other brands like Sony, Panasonic, Anker, Onkyo and Insignia were also mentioned in the list.