UK Google Home Owners Can Now Make Phone Calls
Google Home launched in the UK last April about seven months after the Amazon Echo. This rush to market meant UK users had limited functionality compared to its US counterpart, but Google has been gradually adding new features since launch. In August Google launched the Actions on Google SDK with British English support and the Google Assistant iPhone app later that month. And as of this week, UK Google Home owners can now make hands-free phone calls by just asking their device to call a certain contact or business.
Amazon Echo owners have been able to make calls through their Echo device since October but only between Echo devices. Amazon has since upgraded their phone call and messaging feature in the US to be like Google’s, giving users the ability to call any contact or phone number through their device, regardless if they have an Echo smart speaker or the Alexa smart phone app. However, this new capability only supports phone numbers in the US, Canada and Mexico.
An Important Feature for Voice First Devices
Despite the obvious use case, it took Amazon and Google a little while to release the calling feature on their respective devices. It may not be the “killer app” they were hoping for, but consumers have embraced the calling and messaging features on these devices, at least in the US. According to our Smart Speaker Consumer Adoption Report, 40% of device owners have tried to call someone at least once using their smart speaker and about 23% use the feature monthly. Even more significant is that 10% reported using it daily. These numbers are particularly impressive because previously it was required, at least for Amazon Echo users, for both callers to own an Echo device. The launch of the calling feature in the UK can only increase user engagement for the Google Home and incite UK businesses to develop apps to increase their voice SEO. And don’t worry Amazon Echo owners in the UK, I can imagine a similar update for Alexa isn’t far behind.