After a long wait, Google has finally rolled out its calling feature on Google Home. By talking to the smart speaker, users in the U.S. and Canada can make a phone call hands-free.
By saying “Hey Google, call dad,” the smart speaker will make a phone call just like doing it through the smartphone. The call is made through Wi-Fi and the contacts must be on the user’s Google account contact list.
The call receiver will not see the phone number of the incoming call if it is made via Google Home. Instead, they will see “no caller ID” or “unknown numbers.” Only users with a Google Voice or Project Fi account can dial from Google Home showing their numbers.
Normally people are less willing to pick up phone calls of uncertain origin. To tackle this problem, Google has promised to offer a better solution by the end of the year.
Google Home is also sold in Australia, France, Germany and the U.K. However, the company didn’t mention whether if will roll out similar features in these countries.
It’s biggest rival platform, Amazon Alexa, also offers the calling feature on all Echo devices. Users can simply say “Alexa, call [contact]” to place calls, or tell Alexa to send the text messages. It will only work when both the user and the intended contacts have enabled the Alexa calling and messaging feature.
When Apple officially releases HomePod later this year, it might also add its famous FaceTime calling feature to the smart speaker.
While many landlines have disappeared and been replaced by smartphones, it seems that the home phone system is making a comeback, as more smart speakers are enabled with the calling feature.
Right now the sound quality of smart speaker calls may not be as good as that of smartphone calls. However, when the call feature is adopted by more users, smart speaker makers may then decide to improve the hardware to provide a better calling experience.