Google Home to get Hands-Free Calling, Proactive Assistance, Visual Responses, and More
Google I/O is a treasure-trove of exciting new features for fans of Google products and services. The Google Home is receiving a whole bunch of new features that should excite any existing or potential owner of the product.
The Google Home will now support hands-free voice calling to any number in the U.S. and Canada for free. This will roll out to all existing devices and it does not require any setup on your part. You can also set it up to use your personal number as the outgoing number, and thanks to the multi-user support that was recently rolled out, users can distinguish between which contact from whose contact book to message based on their voice.
The Google Home is powered by the Google Assistant, so you would expect it to active like more of a personal assistant. To that end, Google is working on having the Google Home share information proactively with you. The Google Home will notify you of “tiny important messages” and not just when you ask for it. For instance, if Google Assistant notices you have a calendar event coming up, the Google Home will light up and notify you that you need to leave soon. With multi-user support, you can also choose which types of proactive notifications you want to hear about.
More Audio and Video Services
The Google Home will also receive support for Spotify’s free music service, SoundCloud, and Deezer for audio services. Next up, HBO Now will also be supported on the Google Home.
Bluetooth Audio Support
As revealed in a previous APK teardown of the Google Home app, the app will soon support modifying the Bluetooth properties of certain devices. Today, it is announced that the Bluetooth radio, which was previously disabled in the Google Home, will now be available for users to cast audio.
Visual Responses to Google Home
Sometimes when you ask something of Google Home, it gives you more information than your attention span can handle. In those cases, you’ll want a visual pop-up showing you the answer to your query. Now, the Google Home will support visual responses.
Of course, the Google Home does not have a screen, so how this will work is that visual responses will be automatically cast to a nearby Chromecast device (which will be updated to support this feature).
Overall, we’re pretty excited about these changes to the Google Home. Let us know your thoughts below!