How to Call and Message on Google Home and Assistant
Want to use your Google Home or Google Assistant device as a hands-free phone? Our article will show you how it’s done.
With the increase in popularity of smart home devices, using them as a way to communicate with other people has become more practical. The technology is accessible, and it’s not hard to find someone you know that has such a device. Google Home, and its corresponding smart AI, the Google Assistant, is a smart device that can be used as a messaging device.
The technology has advanced enough that calls and messages can be made via voice commands. In this article, we’ll show you how to call and message on Google Home and Assistant and highlight the ins and outs of Google Home calling and messaging.
Google Home and Google Assistant, What’s the Difference?
When it comes to Google Home and Google Assistant, there can be a bit of confusion regarding the difference between the two. The products are so interconnected that it’s easy to mistake one for the other.
To put it in simple terms, Google Home is the hardware aspect, and Google Assistant is the software that runs it. Google’s smart speaker systems are sold under the Google Home brand name. All Google Home devices come with the Google Assistant built in. Google Assistant, on the other hand, is available in other products like Android and iOS phones, tablets, and smart home devices.
Google Home and Google Assistant are also the names of two separate apps. The Google Home app, available on both the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store, is the fully functional smart home app. The Google Assistant App is for devices that aren’t fully compatible with the Google Home app, but still uses some of its features. When it comes to Google Home calling and messaging, we’ll be concentrating on the Google Home app.
How Does Google Home and Assistant Make Phone Calls?
If you’re wondering how Google Home makes calls without an actual phone, the answer is that it depends on the same technology that Skype and Viber uses. It’s more commonly known as Voice Over Internet Protocol or VOIP.
As long as you’re connected to the internet, you can use Google Home to make calls for free. Of course, the internet connection itself is another matter, and making calls, whether video calls or normal voice calls, will use up data.
In order to use your Google Home device to make calls, you’ll need several things:
A Google Home device, or a smart device compatible with the Google Home app.
A Google Account.
A mobile phone for the setup.
The Google Home app.
Once you’ve downloaded and installed the Google Home app, you can now proceed with the smart device setup.
How to Set Up Your Google Device for Voice Commands
If you want to make voice calls on your Google Home device, you’ll need to set up your Google Home device first. To do so, follow these steps:
- Open the Google Home App and log in.
- If you’ve already created a Home network, tap on the home name, otherwise tap on + Add another home, then tap Next. Make sure your Google Home device is turned on and in close proximity.
- Once detected, tap on Next.
- The app will ask you if you listen for a sound from the Google Home device. If you do, tap on Yes.
- Google Home will then ask you if you want to share stats. You can say skip this if you so wish.
- Specify which room the device will be in, then tap Next.
- Tap on Next to connect the device to Wi-Fi.
From here you’ll be given the chance to set up Voice Match, and then be given several promotions for other services like YouTube Premium and Netflix. It’s recommended that you do Voice Match as it tailors active Google Home services when it recognizes your voice. All you need to do is follow voice prompts in order to initiate voice recognition learning. If you want to do this later just tap Skip.
The device is now set up for voice activated commands. Next, you’ll need it to remember your contact lists. You can accomplish this by doing the following:
Open the Google Home app and log in.
- Tap on the name of your device.
- Tap on the Settings button. This will be the gear icon.
- Look for, and tap on Recognition & personalization under More.
- Turn on Allow personal results.
Your Google Home device will now recognize your contacts list. Do note that to make calls, you’ll need to have Web & App activity turned on in your Google Account page. This is on by default, but if you’ve turned it off, calls will not function.
How to Call and Message on Google Home and Assistant
If you want to make a call via voice commands, all you need to do is say, “Hey Google,” then any of the following commands:
- “Call + contact name”
- “Call + business name”
- “Call + phone number”
You can also make a query about a nearby shops by saying, “Hey Google, what’s the nearest ‘business’?” Once Google Assistant gives the results, just say, “Call Them.”
To end a call just say, “Hey Google,” then, “End Call”, “Hang Up”, “Stop”, or “Disconnect.”
As for messages, Google Home currently doesn’t support SMS messaging by default. There is a workaround using IFTTT, but this means creating an applet for each person you want to message. This isn’t practical if you only want to contact someone with SMS once.
How to Make Video Calls on Google Home and Assistant
Google Assistant video calls can’t be done by the Assistant app alone. Although you’ll need to set up Assistant, you’ll also have to install another app called Google Duo. This app is available for both Android and iOS. To set up the app, do the following:
- On your mobile, open the Duo app.
- You’ll be asked for your phone number. Enter it, then tap Agree.
- You’ll be sent a verification code. Enter it, then tap on Verify.
- You’ll be asked for your Google Account. Enter it, then tap on Agree.
With Duo set up, you can initiate a video call by saying, “Hey Google, call ‘contact name’ on Duo,” or “Hey Google, Video Call ‘contact’”. Do note that Google Home video calls can be done on devices that have smart displays.
How to Make Google Home and Assistant Conference Calls
Like video calls, Google Home conference calls operate with the Duo app. Install the app as instructed above. Next, you’ll need to set up a group that you can make the Google Home conference call with. To do so, follow these steps:
- On your mobile, open Google Duo.
- Tap on Create Group on the bottom left corner of the screen.
- Choose the people you want to add to the group from your contacts.
- Tap on Done.
To delete a person from an existing group, do the following:
- Open Google Duo.
- Swipe up on the screen.
- Tap the name of the group whose member you wish to delete.
- Tap and hold on the name of the person you want to delete.
- Tap on Remove from Group. Alternatively, you can choose to Block the person instead.
To add members, rename a group, leave a group, or reset a group link, you can do the following:
- Open Google Duo.
- Swipe up on your screen.
- Find the name of a group then tap on the name.
- Tap on More options. This is the three dots icon.
- Choose the option you want to do then follow the prompts.
Once set up, you can do Google Home conference calls by following these steps:
- Say “Hey Google, start a group call.”
- Tap the name of the group on the screen of your smart device.
- You can end the call by saying, “Hey Google,” then, “End Call”, “Hang Up”, “Stop”, or “Disconnect.”
You can also use Duo on a Google Home device to call another Google Home device. As long as you have the contact address of the other party, you can use voice commands to initiate the call. If you’re wondering how to make calls between Google Home devices, then it’s the same as making a normal voice call, or video call.
How to View Google Home Call History
Google keeps an extensive record of the activities that you do while connected to your Google Account. There is no direct call history available, as Google Home itself doesn’t use cellular services to make calls. But you can view Google Home Call History by viewing your activity. This can be done in two ways:
- On a PC, go to your Google Activity page.
On your mobile device, do the following:
- Open the Google Home App.
- Tap on your profile icon on the upper left corner of the screen.
- Tap on Google Account just under your profile name.
- Tap on Data & personalization on the top menu.
- Scroll down and look for the Activity and timeline tab.
- Tap on My Activity.
You’ll be shown a record of recent activities on your account. Any Google Home Call history should be listed here.
Google Home and Assistant FAQ
Here are some common questions regarding Google Home and Google Assistant:
Do I need a Google Account to use Google Home or Google Assistant?
Yes. A Google Account is required to use both Google Home and Google Assistant. In fact, set up won’t complete unless you enter a valid Google Account. Fortunately, you can make one for free if you don’t have one. If you use YouTube, Gmail, or various other Google services, it’s a good chance that you already have an account of your own.
Can Google Home and Assistant Call 911?
Although you can set up emergency numbers on your Google Home contacts, it can’t dial 911 by itself. A lot of voice activated calling software come with limitations, and for Google Home and Assistant, calling emergency numbers are one of them.
To bypass this, you can set up an emergency contact as mentioned and have them call 911 for you. The extra step may be inconvenient, especially if you’re really in an emergency and can’t dial the phone, but this is how the service itself is set up.
What is the difference between Google Nest and Google Home?
Technically, Google Home and Google Nest are the same line of devices only under different names. Google Home was the original brand that the smart devices were released under in 2016. Newer Google smart home devices now go under the Nest brand. Both devices still operate with the Google Assistant AI software and use the Google Home app in order to set up.
Do all Google Home devices need Google Assistant?
All Google Home smart devices come with Google Assistant built in. Although they can technically operate with other smart hone network software, they are more compatible with Google Assistant. Some features may not function properly with other smart AI programs.
Google Assistant operates on other non-Google devices. Like Android, which is also a Google software product, many manufacturers release products with Google Assistant compatibility.
Can Google Home Devices call people without Google Assistant?
No. The software itself is essential to using the voice operated call features on Google Home devices. In addition to this, you’ll need to install Google Duo to initiate video calls and Google Home conference calls.
Can Google Home and Assistant answer phone calls?
Yes. The Google Home app allows users to answer phone calls hands-free through voice commands. If you have Google Duo installed, you can accept calls by saying “Hey Google,” then, “Answer the call.” Alternatively, you can choose to say, “Decline the call,” and Google Duo will hang up. If your device is set to “Do not disturb” however, calls will be declined automatically.
Can Google Home and Assistant auto make phone calls?
Yes. As long as you have the contact information of the person you wish to call, you can use voice commands to make hands-free calls.
Can Google Home and Assistant call out of country for free?
You can’t use Google Home to make international voice calls unless you have a Google Voice or a Google Fi account. The rates may be cheaper than normal international calls, but you still have to pay.
The same doesn’t apply to Canada though, as Canadian numbers can be called for free. Do note though that emergency numbers, and 1-900 numbers are restricted and can’t be contacted by Google Home.
Google Home and its Google Assistant software have made it a lot easier to contact other people. With free voice and video calls, and hands-free voice command options, reaching out to others is as simple as saying “Hey Google.”
Do you know any other ways to call and message on Google Home and Assistant that weren’t mentioned here? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.