Here’s How To Make Free Phone Calls With Google Home AI Assistant

A smart speaker that does not allow you to make phone calls does not seem very smart, does it? Google agrees, and so the Mountain View outfit is bringing hands-free calling to its Google Home speaker. Starting soon, the AI assistant powering Google Home will allow users to make voice-activated phone calls for free to anyone in the United States and Canada, Google confirmed in a blog post.

Google Home

Call anyone (at their home, on their mobile or at their office). It’s easy to use, and it’s free," Google says.

Being able to make hands-free phone calls brings Google Home one step closer to parity with Amazon's line of Alexa-powered Echo products, which introduced calling and messaging capabilities back in May. However, there are some key differences between the two. For one, Google allows users to make calls to anyone in the US and Canada, whereas Alexa can only ring up other Echo device owners or smartphones with the Alexa app installed. Advantage, Google.

On the flip side, Google Home devices cannot place calls to one another like Echo devices can. Furthermore, Google Home can only make outgoing phone calls. It also lacks the ability to make video calls, which is something that can be done on the newest version of Echo. That is three points for Echo, if you are keeping score.

Comparisons aside, it is rather easy to get things going with Google Home. Just say, "OK Google" or "Hey Google," followed by your call request. One thing that is neat about Google's implementation is that its AI assistant recognizes your voice. That means you can instruct it to call your mom, dad, sister, and so forth rather than saying a person's name.

"Busy in the kitchen and in need of help? Just say 'Hey Google, call Dad' to ask about that one ingredient you always seem to forget (salt? baking powder? who knows!). Because the Assistant on Google Home recognizes your voice, you’ll reach your dad instead of just any dad," Google explains.

You can also make free calls to your personal contacts, as well as millions of businesses (by name or location) across the US and Canada. Alternately, you can bark out a specific number to call. The caveat to all this is that Google Home does not support caller ID at the moment, at least not yet. Your call will register as "Unknown" or "No Caller ID" to recipients that do not have Google Voice or Project Fi. This will change by the end of the year, Google says, at which point Google Home will display your mobile number.