Wall Street Journal reported that tech giants Amazon and Google will bring voice call facilities to their respective smart home speakers in the near future. If the companies’ concerns about privacy, emergency services and regulatory hurdles are resolved, the Amazon Echo and Google Home can have this feature by the end of the year.
Even with this updated feature, users will only be able to make calls over the speakerphone, which diminishes its usefulness for many. However, given that Google has been operating Google Voice for seven years and had launched Project Fi in 2015, its theoretically easier for the company to develop a phone service for Google Home. In this regard, Amazon has to start afresh to get its phone service up and running.
Amazon is reported to be considering a number of different options, including syncing to the user’s existing phone number, call forwarding, or the Echo getting its own phone number. How users can switch between their phones and the speaker when they leave their homes is also an issue that reportedly needs to be ironed out.
Given the numerous hurdles, it seems like it will be a while before you’re ordering takeout over your Google Home speaker, but it is the next logical step for both companies. The landline isn’t dead yet.