Google Home AI Smart Hub To Gain Hands-Free Calling In The U.S.

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Among a number of other updates announced this week at Google IO, it was revealed that hands-free calling was coming to the popular Google Home AI assistant. And those hands-free calls will quite literally be free – the update itself and calls made from the device will come at no additional cost.

When the feature rolls out, calls can be made from the Google Home in a couple of ways. Users can allow the device to scan and store their contacts, which can be referenced directly, or calls can be made from Google search results. For example, someone could say “Call Mom” – assuming there was a contact labeled Mom -- and the device would call the number associated with that contact. Users, however, could also say, “Call Papa John’s Pizza” and the device would call your local pizza joint, based on Google’s search results.

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At first, calls made from the Google Home device will be reported as a private number, but Google has plans in place that will allow users to link their mobile number to Google Assistant. Once linked, that mobile number will show up on the recipient’s caller ID. The hand-free calling feature will also sync contacts with multiple users. Once granted permission and set up, multiple sets of contacts can be synced, and the Google Home device can distinguish one voice from another and call the proper contact.

Hand’s free calling from the Google Home AI hub will initially be available to customers in the United States when the update hits, but calls can be made to locations in the U.S. or Canada. No word yet on when Google plans to roll the feature out to other regions.