Google just made Google Home a more compelling rival to Echo.
Earlier this month, Amazon launched an Alexa calling service, giving Echo users the ability to phone other Echo users and users of the Alexa app. And if you have the new Echo Show, you can even do video calls. Amazon basically made its Echo lineup far superior to Google Home in terms of communication functionality, but now, mere weeks later, Google is leveling the playing field with a new calling feature.
- Amazon Alexa Calling: What is it and how do you use it?
- Move over, Alexa: More Cortana devices and skills are on the way
- Echo Show official: Amazon's home hub offers video calling and more
While at Google I/O 2017, Google announced hands-free calling with Google Home. At launch, the feature will only support outgoing calls, meaning you won't be able call the Home speaker from another Home or your smartphone. Eventually, Google Home will be able to call any phone number in the US or Canada through a voice command like “Okay Google, call Mom.” Calls will be completely free, too.
All users have to do is link their own phone numbers to the device. Anyone you call will see a private number when their phone rings, by default, though you can add your own number. And if your Google Home supports multiple users, you can pair multiple numbers so Google Home can recognise who is trying to call. Google has said it will roll out calling to all Google Home owners “over the coming months.”
Google indicated it will only support outbound calls due to customer privacy. The company also said it will add a block feature “in the coming weeks". Check out Pocket-lint's Google I/O guide to see what else Google has announced.