Amazon and Google are considering bringing voice calls to their respective smart home speakers, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal. The feature could be rolled out to Amazon Echo and Google Home speakers as soon as this year, but both companies have concerns about privacy, emergency services, and regulatory hurdles.
There’s also the fact that you would only make calls over speakerphone, which could limit the usefulness of the feature for some users. Theoretically it would be easier for Google to get a phone service up and running on the Home, given that it’s been operating Google Voice for seven years and launched Project Fi back in 2015, while Amazon has to start from scratch to get its phone service up and running.
According to the Journal, Amazon is considering a number of different options, including syncing to the user’s existing phone number, call forwarding, or the Echo getting its own phone number. Switching between your phone and the speaker when you leave the room or house is also an issue that reportedly needs to be ironed out.
Given the numerous hurdles, it seems like it will be a while before you’re ordering takeout over your Google Home speaker, but it is the next logical step for both companies. The landline isn’t dead yet.