Just after introducing new video filters and effects to Duo yesterday, Google has added a widely-requested audio feature today: You can now connect Duo to your display-less Google Home devices and enjoy high-quality audio calls to other people using the platform. You can also finally call specific speakers in your home using the service.
Duo calls have already been available on smart displays such as the Google Nest Hub and the Nest Hub Max. Video calling is still only possible on these smart home devices, but voice calls are spreading to Google Homes which have no camera or screen.
To start a call on your Google Home, you first need to head to the Services section of your Assistant settings and tap Voice & video calls and then Video & Voice Apps. Here, you can link your Duo account, if you haven't already, and you'll see toggles that allow you to activate voice calling on your speakers. Once everything's set up, you can ask your Assistant to "call [contact name] on Duo." To end calls, simply say "end the call" or tap the top of your Home and Home Max (or the side for the Mini). You can call specific Google Home devices using this syntax, too. For example, when I say "call Kitchen Home" on my phone or on another Home device, Duo exclusively rings my Home Mini in the kitchen.
Left: Voice and Video calls settings. Right: Voice calling individual Home devices in action.
Google says Duo calling on speakers is only available in the United States in English, but it worked for me in German, too (note that I've set the primary language of my devices to US English which might help). Your mileage may vary internationally. The new feature starts rolling out today and seems to be widely available already.
- Nick Cipriani