Google Home devices have long let users place phone calls with just their voice. An upcoming Assistant change will restrict that calling capability to numbers saved in your Google Contacts.
Over the past day, the feed tab of the Google Home app has started displaying an “Important change to calling” card that links to a support article. This is referring to the capability that allows you to ask Assistant on your Nest Hub to place a call in a hands-free manner or through an on-screen speed dial.
Starting in December of 2021, this feature requires you to:
- Set up Voice Match and turn on personal results for the Google Assistant-enabled devices you want to make calls from.
- Have or add the number you want to call to Google Contacts.
That second requirement does not apply if you set up Google Fi or Voice: Assistant settings > Communication > Call Providers. For everyone else, their Home device will ask them to save a new number in Google Contacts before Assistant can dial.
If you add the number, Google Assistant will make the call. If you don’t add it, Google Assistant will cancel the call.
This change could be Google’s way of preventing misdials, or making sure the numbers you dial feature a name. That said, the additional step prevents a quick calling experience and can lead to cluttered contact lists. It ignores the fact that people often make one-time calls that don’t need to be saved. Overall, it makes Assistant devices a less useful landline alternative, though Google recently added an “Only ring when home” option.
More on Google Assistant:
- Google Assistant gains ‘Quick phrases,’ enhances At a Glance on Pixel 6
- New ‘Assistant voice typing’ in Gboard lets you dictate, edit text hands-free
- Assistant Driving Mode adds Bluetooth auto-launch as old Android Auto disappears for more users
- You can now ask Google Assistant for the UV Index on Android, iOS, and Nest Hub
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