×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Google Home Gets Hands-Free Calling, Free Spotify, HBO Now Support

Google one-upped Amazon with a bunch of new features for its Google Home smart Wifi speaker at the company’s Google I/O developer conference in Mountain View, Calif. Wednesday: Google announced free phone calls as well as enhanced support for media services including Spotify and HBO Go.

Google Home will soon be able to call any phone number in the U.S. or Canada, simply though a voice command like “Okay Google, call Mom.” Calls will be completely free, and users will be able to link their own phone numbers to the device.

Google is also adding free music from Spotify, as well as support for SoundCloud to Google Home. And Google Home is integrating directly with HBO’s HBO Now streaming service, making it possible to ask to play the latest episode of a HBO show on any TV that’s equipped with Google’s Chromecast streaming adapter.

Google VP Rishi Chandra used his appearance at Google I/O to share that Google and its partners have now sold over 50 million Chromecasts and TVs with Chroemcast built-in. That’s a significant  bump from last July, when Google announced that it had sold a total of 30 million Chromecasts since the introduction of the streaming adapter in 2013.

Chandra didn’t reveal any sales numbers for Google Home, but revealed that the device will come to Canada, Australia, France, Germany and Japan this summer.

Google’s announcement of these new Google Home features came just a week after Amazon recently introduced free voice calling between Amazon Echo devices. At the time, Amazon also introduced its latest member of the Echo family, the Echo Show — a speaker that spots a 7-inch display for video viewing and the display of additional information.

Chandra didn’t reference Amazon at all Wednesday, but instead introduced another new feature that seems to directly respond to the Echo Show: Google Home owners will now be able to quickly send additional information to any phone or Chromecast-equipped TV screen.

Google Home is part of a bigger initiative for Google to give consumers access to its smart digital assistant, aptly called the Google Assistant. Thus far, the Assistant had only been available on Google Home as well as Google’s own Pixel phones. But on Wednesday, the company announced that the Assistant is also coming to iPhones through the Google app.

 

More Digital

  • Instagram Logo

    Netflix Lets iOS Users Share Movies, Shows to Instagram Stories

    Netflix is tapping into Instagram Stories for some word-of-mouth promotion: The streaming video service rolled out a new Instagram integration Tuesday that allows iOS users to share their favorite movies and TV shows via Stories. To do so, users simply select the title of their choice within the Netflix iOS app, and then share it [...]

  • Brian Lockhart - ESPN+

    ESPN Hires NFL Media's Brian Lockhart to Head ESPN+ Original Content

    ESPN recruited Brian Lockhart, who has spent more than a decade at NFL Media, as executive producer of original content for the ESPN+ subscription-streaming service. Lockhart will oversee strategy and development for all ESPN+ original programming initiatives, including new projects as well as existing shows such as “Detail,” “More Than an Athlete,” “The Board Room,” [...]

  • The Netflix logo is displayed at

    Netflix in Advanced Talks to Join Motion Picture Association of America

    WASHINGTON — Netflix is in advanced talks to join the Motion Picture Association of America, a move that would reflect its evolution as a major player in the movie business. The MPAA currently has six major studios as members, each paying annual dues between $15 million to $20 million per year. But it faces the [...]

  • The Expanse

    Amazon Launching 'The Expanse' Seasons 1-3 Worldwide Ahead of Season 4 Premiere

    Amazon has acquired worldwide subscription-streaming rights to the first three seasons of “The Expanse,” the space thriller that originally aired on Syfy, leading up to Prime Video’s debut of season 4 later in 2019. Seasons 1-2 of “The Expanse” are currently available in the U.S. on Prime Video. All three seasons, comprising 36 episodes in [...]

  • Beta Sells Alex Pina’s Movistar +

    Beta Film Rolls Out Alex Pina, Esther Martinez Lobato’s ‘The Pier’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    MIAMI  — Clinching more deals on one of Mipcom’s highest-profile premieres, Beta Film has closed early major territory sales on Movistar + Original “El Embarcadero” (“The Pier”), Alex Pina and Esther Martínez-Lobato’s follow-up to Netflix phenomenon “La casa de papel” (“Money Heist”), identified by the streaming giant in its first-quarter results last April as its [...]

  • Oscar OScars Placeholder

    How to Watch Oscar Nominations Live Online

    The 91st Academy Awards may be hostless, but its nominations will be led by Kumail Nanjiani of “The Big Short” and Tracee Ellis Ross from ABC’s “Black-ish.” The two actors will announce the nominees live beginning at 5:20 a.m. PT/8:20 a.m. ET on Tuesday, Jan 22. All 24 Oscar categories will be announced in a [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content