Smart speakers, like Google’s (News - Alert) Google Home or Amazon’s Echo, have grown increasingly popular over the past year. In addition to being high quality Bluetooth speakers that can play music from smartphones, these speakers make use of an interactive “virtual butler” (much like Apple’s (News - Alert) Siri) that gives users a host of other options. Using voice commands, owners of the speaker can change the music, play games, get traffic, weather, or other information, and even turn the lights in their homes on and off. These speakers are becoming the user-facing platform of the connected home, the central command station from which the various technologies of the home can be run.
In recent weeks, there have been rumors that Amazon and Google are looking to add even more functionality to their smart speakers in the form of voice calling. Yes, users can already have conversations through their smart speakers if they are connected to their mobile phones (acting in the same way that any Bluetooth headset would), but this would be something more. Reportedly, Google and Amazon are hoping to make their speakers replacements for the traditional landline home phone set up.
This would mean that the Google Home or Amazon Echo would act as standalone telephones. It is not quite clear as of yet how this would work, but there are the possibilities of connecting the speaker directly to traditional phone lines or simply conducting the calls over wireless. Either way, this would be a welcomed increase to the already wide range of functionality that these smart speakers offer.
As of yet, it is unclear if and when these new features would be added to Google’s and Amazon’s products. When that happens, though, it will represent another step in the direction of further connecting the various appliances throughout the modern home. Amazon, Google, and other companies of their ilk are continually working to give consumers more control over the various aspects of their house than ever before.