Smart speakers have steadily been making a place for themselves in our homes over the past year. The turf that was once primarily ruled by Amazon Echo was later joined by Google Home. And now the market is expected to be flooded with such products this year.
These devices already enable you to execute functions that you’d normally do through a voice assistant. But, both of the tech behemoths are now mulling the addition of the functionality to make phone calls using their respective speakers, reports WSJ. Citing sources aware of the development, the report says that Amazon and Google could bring telephony to their smart speakers as soon as later this year.
The information on how both technology giants are planning to bring this functionality to their respective speakers is currently bleak. But, Google Home has multiple options open for making phone calls through the home speaker a reality. Amazon, on the other hand, might
Google could either power the service through its consumer-focused voice/video chat platform Duo. It could also power this service using its cellular service Project Fi or Google Voice, which was recently brought back from the dead. Amazon could employ the services of its recently launched communication tool Chime to bring voice calls to Alexa. However, there is currently no way to confirm the same.
Further, the addition of phone calling to the home speaker will be a boon for consumers. But, the report suggests that the technology giants are currently concerned about consumer privacy, access to emergency services, and regulatory hurdles. There are also roadblocks involved in maintaining user experience through voice quality and seamless handover. Both Amazon Echo and Google Home will need to come up with some way to enable the seamless transition of calls from one room to another, or back to the phone without interruptions.
Talking about these concerns, the report reads,
The tech giants could launch the feature this year, the people said — but the effort is hung up over concerns about privacy, telecom regulations and emergency services. And they are aware of the inherent awkwardness of having phone conversations on a speaker.
Thus, it will further integrate smart speakers into daily lives of consumers. But, will they be able to overcome the awkwardness of making a phone call on speaker? That still remains to be seen but this feature could be the need of the hour.