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You can now make free phone calls with your Google Home

Published Aug 16th, 2017 2:49PM EDT
Google Home: Free phone calls
Image: Google

Google’s smart speaker just learned a new trick.

On Wednesday, Google Assistant product manager Deniz Binay announced in a blog post that Google Home owners would now be able to place voice calls through their speakers with the help of Assistant. Originally revealed back in May, the new feature is currently rolling out in the US and Canada, where users can call personal contacts and local businesses for free.

In order to place a call from a Google Home speaker, all you have to do is say “Ok Google, call [contact].” The contact in question needs to be in your Google Contacts list though, so if you use something else to store the phone numbers of your contacts, make sure to port them over first. Providing the contact can be found, Google Home will then make the call over your Wi-Fi connection.

For now, when you place a call over Home, the recipient will see  “Unknown” or “No Caller ID,” but Google plans to make it possible for you to have your phone number show up by the end of the year. Also, if you’re a Google Voice or Project Fi user, you can already choose to have the person on the other end see your phone number by going to your Assistant settings in the Google Home app.

Amazon introduced voice calls for the Echo smart speaker earlier this year, but Amazon’s feature is far more restrictive than Google’s. The only people you can call on a Echo are other Echo users, whereas with Google Home, you’re actually calling someone’s phone. On the other hand, you can’t accept an incoming call on a Google Home — you can only place outgoing calls.

Jacob Siegal
Jacob Siegal Associate Editor

Jacob Siegal is Associate Editor at BGR, having joined the news team in 2013. He has over a decade of professional writing and editing experience, and helps to lead our technology and entertainment product launch and movie release coverage.