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Smart Home

How to make phone calls with Google Home

You can now use your Google home like a landline phone.

Add speakerphone to the list of features for Google Home. The range of smart speakers can place and receive calls, all hands-free.

The calling feature turns your Google Home into a landline of sorts, letting you ask Google to call anyone who is in your contacts, as well as local businesses. The only thing Home can't call -- at least not yet -- is an emergency service like 911.

Here's how to make calls using Google Home.

How to place a call with Google Home

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Taylor Martin/CNET

There is no special setup for hands-free calling with Google Home. It simply uses your phone contacts or nearby businesses based on your location to place calls.

All you have to do to start a call is say, "OK, Google, call [contact name]." You can also say things like:

  • "OK, Google, call the nearest coffee shop."
  • "OK, Google, call Rocky River Coffee."
  • "OK, Google, call the post office."
  • "OK, Google, call dad."
  • "OK, Google, call Jason Cipriani."

Google Home will place your call over the Wi-Fi connection. While ringing or in call, the light ring on Google Home will be a spinning pale blue.

By default, recipients will not see your phone number. Instead, they will see either Unknown or No Caller ID. Google says that by the end of this year, you will have the option to show your number when you call someone. However, if you have a Google Voice number or use Project Fi, you can connect your phone number by opening the Google Home app, tapping the hamburger button in the top left to expand the menu and going to More settings > Calls and selecting Google Voice, Google Fi or Unlisted.

If you do connect one of these numbers, you will also be able to use Google Home to call premium rate numbers. Otherwise, these calls will not work. Emergency numbers are also not available to call using Google Home.

To end a call, you can say, "OK, Google, hang up," or tap the top of the Google Home speaker.

Alexa calling versus hands-free calls with Google Home

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Chris Monroe/CNET

Voice calling on Google Home arrived just months after Amazon added calling for its Echo, Echo Dot and Echo Show speakers. However, calls on Alexa speakers are user to user, meaning Echo users can only call other Echo users with their speakers.

Hands-free calling on Google Home is quite a bit different. Effectively, your Google Home becomes a VoIP (voice over internet protocol) speakerphone that can call your Google Contacts and businesses. It also doesn't require the people you are calling to have a Google Home speaker or even a Google account. You can call effectively anyone with a phone number, except emergency numbers.

Calling is also integrated with Google Home's multi-user support. This means if you tell Google Home to "Call Mom," it will dial your mother. However, if another registered user tells Google the same thing, it will dial their mom, not yours.

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