Smart, cloud-connected speakers like the Amazon Echo and the Google Home are finding their way into more and more living spaces. Now, the Wall Street Journal has reported that Amazon and Google are exploring ways to let you use the voice-activated gadgets to make phone calls.
It's a logical next step for the increasingly popular devices, and it's a feature that consumers have been asking for. Concerns about privacy, telecom regulations, access to emergency services and user experience are said to be the current roadblocks. However, the feature could arrive for both devices as soon as this year and could be another way to further integrate the gadgets into people's everyday lives.
The stakes are high as Amazon and Google battle it out for control of the voice-enabled smart home. Amazon jumped into an early lead with the 2014 debut of its Echo smart speaker, which features Alexa, the artificially intelligent, voice-activated assistant housed inside. Echo has enjoyed a meteoric rise, which led Alphabet-owned Google to get in on the action at the end of last year with the Google Home smart speaker.
A Google spokesperson tells CNET that the company is continuing to develop new updates for Google Home, but has no updates to share at this time. On the Amazon front, a spokesperson declined to comment on "rumors and speculation."