Make Real Phone Calls on Google Home (How-To)

Make Real Phone Calls on Google Home (How-To)

Google announced this new feature at Google I/O in May, but didn't mention when it would go live. Well, the wait is over...at least for the United States (for now). Actual (and free) phone calls to real phone numbers is now available on Google Home.

I mention "real" because we've all heard about another voice assistant platform that you can make "calls" on, but they only work to other users of that "other" platform (Alexa, anyone?). With Google Home's calling feature, you can call most phone numbers in the U.S. or Canada right now, for free. You can dial by number, dial-by-name from your Google Contacts or ask the Google Assistant to look up and/or call a local business (nearest one if multiple locations).

But I haven't even mentioned the best part: There is ZERO setup required! If you already have a Google Home and you're already using it, you're good to go! (Google says that the feature is still rolling out over the next few days, so you might still get a "I can't make calls yet" message temporarily.)

Google explains a bit more on its own Google Home Calling support page about additional functionality like linking your Google Voice or Project Fi account to set your outgoing number. And if you're a multi-person household and everyone has their Google account linked to Home, Google can personalize the calling service by recognizing your voice ("call Mom" would respond differently for different people, outgoing number would match the person making the call, etc.)

For now, the calls are outbound-only and there is no Google Home to Google Home calling, intercom or messaging features like on Alexa and the Amazon Echo devices. But I'm pretty sure that Google will get all this stuff fixed and make this extremely compelling by the end of the year. And if Google releases a Google Home Mini or something less expensive, they will finally be competing head-on with the Echo Dot. (One can hope, anyway)

Q&A: Home Automation - July 2017 - HomeKit, Dimmers and more!

Q&A: Home Automation - July 2017 - HomeKit, Dimmers and more!

Pairing IKEA Tradfri Smart Lights with SmartThings (How-To)

Pairing IKEA Tradfri Smart Lights with SmartThings (How-To)