Owners of Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOGL)’s brilliant smart speaker in the U.S and Canada will soon be able to make free voice calls, thanks to a new software update. The free-hands calling feature on Google Home is among a number of new features the tech giant is introducing as it continues to make a push for market share in the smart home business.
Google Home Free Voice Calls
No set up will be required to make free calls as the new feature uses personal contacts and nearby businesses contacts depending on one’s locations. The smart speaker will make the calls over Wi-Fi connection and will not require intended recipients to have Google home speaker or even a Google account.
Recipients of calls from Google Home will by default not see the caller’s phone number. Instead, the caller will appear as either unknown or No Caller ID. Google is however, working on a new feature that it says will allow recipients to see phone numbers of the people making the calls in future.
Google Home vs. Echo
Voice call support on Google Home comes months after Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) debuted a similar function on its smart home speaker Echo Dot and Echo Show speakers. However, Google’s support goes a notch higher given that Amazon’s voice calling service is only limited to Echo devices.
The new voice call support should ramp Google Home’s competitive edge against Echo that currently dominates the smart speaker market. People who are yet to buy any smart speaker could be prompted to buy Google Home given its ability to make calls to all kinds of devices, unlike Echo.
To date, most people have perceived smart speakers as novelty gadgets. However, that is set to change as the likes of Google receive new features designed to improve their functionality. Extended functionalities should entice people to buy the devices, in return allow the likes of Google to collect user data that can be used for advertising purposes.
Google stock was down by 1.76% in Thursday’s trading session to end the day at $927.66 a share.