After Amazon Alexa got the voice-calling feature for Echo, it is Google Home's turn to offer the service to its users. Google Home, today, has got the hands-free voice calling feature and Google has confirmed that it is now rolling out for users in the US and Canada.
With the new feature, Google Home users can make a call to any recipient as long as they are in one of the two countries. To recall, Google has been teasing the feature since May 2017, and it's nice to see that it has finally delivered it after two months. Unlike how this feature works on Amazon Echo, Google Home has taken a different approach to its functionality.
Here's how you can make a call using Google Home:
To start a call, you have to say "OK Google, call (name of the recipient stored in your Google Contacts)." Remember, it is important to have the contact saved in your Google contact or on Google's cloud. It is also worth noting that Google Home placed these call over Wi-Fi, which means that your phone plan's minutes are not used. It means that Google Home calling is a different method altogether. Also, there is no requisite for the recipient to have Google Home speaker as well; the calls are made to the actual phone.
How is it different from Amazon Alexa calling?
With Alexa, the calls (both incoming and outgoing) are placed between Alexa and Echo device or Alexa smartphone app. On the contrary, Google Home only makes outgoing calls, which means that you cannot receive calls on Google Home from other Google Home device. If you're not a Google Voice or Project Fi user, the recipient won't see your contact. Instead, they will see “unknown” or “no caller ID,” which could also result in many not answering your calls for privacy reasons.
On the upside, the Google Voice and Project Fi can link their numbers to Home to make their number available on the caller ID of recipients. Unlike Alexa, Google Home voice calling can only be done via Home device and not the Home app. Amazon's Alexa calling and messaging also supports Alexa app.
No need to configure the Home device before trying out the new calling feature
If you're not going to link Google Voice or Project Fi number, then there is no requirement to configure the device. Home already has access to your Google Contacts and it can smartly make calls to the right person on your command.
How to link Google Voice or Project Fi number to Home device:
To do this, you will need to open the Home app on your smartphone. After opening the app, head to the Menu>More settings>Calls. In that menu, you can choose your Google Voice or Project Fi number to display when you make calls. For those who don't want to show their number, there is an “Unlisted” option as well.
No support for 911 calls yet
No, 911 calls are not supported by the smart speaker yet. This is because the calls are made over Wi-Fi and not smartphones that can pose as trouble for 911 hotline to figure out your correct location. We hope Google works around this functionality as it can be of great help when someone is in need, and by yelling 911, they can place a call through Home speaker.