Google Home devices have long allowed users to make phone calls with only their voice. An upcoming change to Assistant will limit this call option to numbers stored in your Google contacts.
Over the past 24 hours, the feed tab in the Google Home app has started showing an “Important change to call” map linking to a support article. This refers to the feature that allows you to ask the Assistant on your Nest Hub to make a call hands-free or via an on-screen speed dial.
From December 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.
The second requirement does not apply if you configure 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 the assistant can call.
If you add the number, Google Assistant makes the call. If you do not add it, Google Assistant will cancel the call.
This change may be Google’s way of preventing incorrect calls or making sure the numbers you call have a name. That said, the extra 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 do not need to be saved. Overall, it makes Assistant Devices a less useful landline option, though Google recently added a “Call Only When Home” feature.
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