Google Home adds hands-free calling, notifications, Bluetooth support

Google Home had a big day at Google’s IO 2017. The annual developer conference brought numerous new features to the Home connected speaker. While there are several others, we will hit the big three that will be coming to Google Home devices in future updates.

Hands-free Calling

Let’s be honest, this is the big one. Google is taking a direct shot at the new features found in the Amazon Echo Show. You will soon be able to make and receive phone calls via the Home speaker. Privacy will be slightly better by Google using a virtual private number unless the Home user opts into using their personal number. The device will also be able to change the number used based on which voice initiates the call.

Notifications

Google Home will now start to notify users of day-to-day activities. Included in that are traffic alerts, calendar appointments, and reminders. Google will be taking a subtle approach and only illuminate the Home’s light ring until you prompt dictation via a voice command of, “OK Google, what’s up?”

Bluetooth Support

While many will argue that Chromecast support makes this one a moot point, traditional Bluetooth support will soon be available as a streaming option. I agree that Chromecast is a superior protocol for Android devices this is a nice addition to allow any device to connect independently of OS as long as Bluetooth is present. It’s a smart addition too, as Google Home’s built-in speaker is quite excellent.



The Verge Engadget