It's not officially confirmed yet but the Wall Street Journal's sources have let slip the details. Both companies are looking to offer VOIP (voice over internet protocol) calls via the smart speakers and Amazon is considering letting users sync their phone number with the Echo or giving it a new phone number with call forwarding.
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It's not clear whether this kind of functionality would roll out to, for instance, other devices with microphones that run Alexa Voice Services. Both Amazon and Google are ready to launch the feature this year on the flagship smart speakers but there are a couple of snags in the mission to replace the home phone.
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One is the concern over paranoia surrounding what Amazon and Google record and how they store these recordings. Amazon reportedly plans to only collect the metadata of calls - duration and dialled numbers - and we suspect Google will do the same. This info could also be handed over to law enforcement, in the US at least, which could worry some people.
The others are more practical issues - what to do about emergency calls which incur a fee and how to manage the switch between smartphone and smart home speaker. We'll update this story when we hear something concrete from Amazon or Google.
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