Since the launch of the Nest Hub (Google Home Hub at the time), it’s been possible to Duo call your smart display from a phone or call your loved ones from your Nest Hub. Meanwhile, the classic Google Home speakers were left without this handy feature, but not for long. As of now, you can finally place audio calls to your Google Home smart speakers via Google Duo.
One of the biggest selling points of Assistant smart displays has been the ability to stay connected through Duo video calling. The newly released Nest Hub Max even includes a camera, unlike its smaller predecessor, for use with Google Duo, among other things.
Google even recently improved this ability to call your home smart display by adding a new “Call Home” button to the Google Home app. With this, the smart display has begun to take the place of the landline home phone of decades past, being able to call your whole family rather than one specific person’s cell phone.
But what about all of the smart speakers we already own? The folks at Android Police have been tipped off to the recent arrival of audio-only Duo calling both to and from Google Home speakers.
To get it set up, you first need to set up the Google Assistant with your Duo account. Open the Assistant’s Settings menu, and under the “Services” tab, open up “Voice & video calls” followed by “Video & Voice apps.” From here, you’ll be able to link your Duo account to Assistant, if you haven’t already, and choose which Google Home devices can receive calls.
With that, you’re now ready to place a call to your Google Home speakers. In my own example above, I can use “Hey Google, call Light Sleeper” and my Google Home Mini will begin to ring with the usual Duo ringtone. Awkwardly, there isn’t a way to remotely answer this call. You have to manually tap on one of the side buttons. We’re also not sure if there’s a way to know who’s calling or to even reject the call, for that matter.
Unfortunately, in our testing, Assistant speakers are also not yet compatible with the “Call Home” button in the Google Home app. Hopefully, this will change in the future, as not everyone will necessarily want a smart display, while Google Home Minis (soon to be Nest Mini) are a dime a dozen.
According to Android Police, the feature is only supposed to be available in the US, but if your phone’s language settings are set to use “English (United States),” you might still be able to access it.
Clearly, Google has a long way to go for Google Home speakers to feel well-integrated with Duo, but the foundation is definitely there for them to build something great.