At its developer conference in May, Google said that it would be adding free phone calling capabilities to its Google Home appliance this year. Today, the search giant said it had begun rolling out this functionality to customers in the U.S. and Canada.
“You’ll soon be able to make a call on Google Home—hands-free—in the U.S. and Canada,” Google product manager Deniz Binay writes. “Call anyone (at their home, on their mobile or at their office). It’s easy to use, and it’s free.”
Hands-free calling on Google Home appears to work as you’d expect. Simply say a phrase like “Hey Google, call Stephanie,” and the appliance will connect you to that contact over Wi-Fi. Because Google Home already works with multiple accounts and does voice recognition, it will work correctly for all users.
But there are caveats. In addition to being U.S- and Canada-only, this functionality has just begun rolling out, so not all users will see it immediately. And for now, hands-free calling will not correctly identify you on the other end: The call recipient will see either “Unknown” or “No Caller ID”; Google says it will display your mobile number by the end of the year instead. (Two exceptions: Google Project Fi and Google Voice users can configure those services to display your number correctly now.)