Google’s killing a thing you probably didn’t care about.
What you need to know
- Google is removing the ability to make “Google-supported calls” on smart speakers and displays in the UK.
- The change kicks in from sometime in mid-December.
- You’ll still be able to make Duo calls on compatible devices.
Google is removing a niche feature on the Nest Audio and other Assistant-enabled smart home devices, the ability to make calls to mobile phone numbers for free. Well, mostly.
You see, currently, Google will let you make voice or video calls with a smart speaker or a smart display if you’ve got Duo, that part’s staying. It also lets you pair your smart speakers to Google Fi, Google Voice, or select carriers in the U.S. and Canada to make calls through your account. That part’s also staying. In the U.S, UK, and Canada, it offered the ability to make intra-regional phone calls for free.You could choose to display your phone number if you want to, but it was routed through an anonymous number so you didn’t have to. Hence the term “Google-supported.” That last one’s the bit that going, in the UK at least.
A Google help page (spotted by Android Police) now reads:
*Important: Starting in mid-December 2020, if you’re in the UK, you won’t be able to make Google- supported calls on your speaker or display. You’ll still be able to make audio or video calls through Duo.
The feature was likely used too little for Google to justify supporting it in the UK, with the country preferring to use VoIP services like WhatsApp or Facetime over traditional phone calls.
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