Google Home is getting notifications, hands-free calling and more

And finally, Bluetooth speaker support
Google Home smartens up at I/O

The tit-for-tat battle between Google Home and Amazon Echo continues, with Google announcing its smart speaker will get new features including the ability to call people and proactive notifications.

First up, we have hands-free calling, which takes advantage of Home's voice recognition abilities, so you can say "call mom" and it will know to call your mom; switch to another user and give it the same command, and it will know to call their mom instead. Calling a landline or cell phone from Home is free, too. For now, you'll only be able to make calls on Google Home, not receive them, and you can pair your personal cell phone number with your call so people know it's you. It's also just going to be available in the US and Canada to start with.

Read this: Google Home and Echo - a battle of wits

Second, we have proactive responses, which sounds similar to Alexa's new notification feature. This will let Home give you updates on things like flight times and traffic problems without you having to ask it first. Like Echo's glowing green ring, Home will let you know you have an update by lighting up, but it's not yet clear how many third-party services will make use of these services - after all, it could get very annoying, very quickly.

Next up, Google's adding support for more music services, including the free Spotify tier, SoundCloud and - finally - Bluetooth support. We think Google Home has a great built-in speaker, but a lot of us have our own speakers in our home. Now you'll be able to connect Google's speaker to them. Music services aren't the only ones getting love, Google is also adding support for more streaming services, like HBO Now.

Finally, Google's updating Chromecast to show visual responses from Home on the TV screen, such as your calendar. Again, it'll recognize your voice to make sure it's showing your calendar, and not one belonging to someone else in the house. You'll also be able to see visual responses on your phone.

Google Hom


What do you think?

Connect with Facebook, Twitter, or just enter your email to sign in and comment.