One little-known but neat piece of infrastructure Google provides for its Assistant speakers and displays is the ability to make free calls to most any U.S. and Canadian, or U.K. number. But Britons won't be able to take advantage of that feature for much longer.
Currently, there are three ways in general to make an audio call through an Assistant device:
- You can link your mobile service from Google Fi, Google Voice, Telecom Italia, and Telstra to make calls to any number at your carrier's rates.
- You can link your Duo account (which is, in turn, linked to your Google account) and call any of your known contacts and other Nest devices for free. It also works for video calls, too.
- You can use Google-supported free calls to any number (minus emergency numbers) in your country:
- If you're in the U.S. or Canada, you can make calls to any U.S. or Canadian number.
- If you're in the U.K., you can make calls to U.K. numbers.
That last method paired an unlisted number to your Assistant device though you could link your own phone number if you wanted it to show up in caller ID.
Recently, though, Google has been pasting this message to pertinent sections of its Nest Help pages:
*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.
As the U.K. lacks any option to link mobile service up to a speaker or display, it looks like users from across the pond won't be able to use those devices to call up the takeaway starting sometime next month. Fortunately, free Google-supported calls will still be around for the next few weeks as the country traverses yet another pandemic lockdown.
Sure enough, smack-dab in the middle of Decemeber Google has removed mention of the UK from its Assistant-call support page.