Users of Google Home can now use the smart speaker to call their contacts with a voice command.

Google Home on a table

You now make calls with Google Home and use it as a speakerphone

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As of August 16, 2017, you can now make a call with Google Home by giving the Google Assistant a voice command. If you’re looking to call someone from your contact list, all you need to do is say, “Hey Google, call mom,” for instance. The Google Assistant will then make a phone call over your home’s WiFi to that person, allowing you to chat away with both hands free. Additionally, as these calls are made over your WiFi connection, they’ll be free of charge. You can use this feature to call any domestic phone number (except 911 for now) that doesn’t require a “premium rate”.

For now, this feature, having launched in the United States and Canada, will not show the person on the other end of the call your name. Instead, they will see “Unknown” or “No caller ID” (Google promises to fix this before the end of 2017). This voice calling feature can also support multiple users, and is able to recognize everyone’s voices in your household, and so, can make calls directly from their personal contact lists. So, if your spouse wants to “call mom”, Google Home will use their personal contact list and make a call to the correct parent.

This feature makes Google Home an even stronger competitor to Amazon Echo. Google Home also takes voice calling a step further, as Amazon’s Alexa is only able to make phone calls to other contacts who possess an Alexa device.

We’re looking forward to trying out this new voice calling feature, as it sounds like a convenient way to turn your smart speaker into a speakerphone, thereby allowing you to carry on doing other chores with both hands. However, the fact that the person at the other end of the call can’t see your caller ID may lead to quite a few missed calls. Therefore, it looks like only when this bug is fixed, will the new voice calling feature do as well as hoped.

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