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Articles Tagged:

calling

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Google Play Store now has 98% fewer apps using SMS and call permissions

One of the Google's main focuses in Android recently has been cutting back on permissions, for better or worse. The Play Store has been more restrictive on applications allowed to use SMS and calling permissions, which famously crippled apps like Cerberus and Watch Droid. Google announced today at I/O that the number of apps using these permissions has dropped by 98% in recent months.

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[Update: Software button may be coming] FYI: Pressing the volume buttons in Call Screen lets you hear the other party

Google's Pixel-exclusive Call Screen feature debuted with the Pixel 3, but it came to the older Pixels several weeks later. In our experience, it can sometimes be useful, though most people just think it's a voicemail greeting and hang up. Nonetheless, in the event that you are able to get the caller to play along with Call Screen, it turns out that you can actually hear what he/she is saying with the press of a volume button.

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You can now make Skype calls on Amazon Alexa devices

Alongside its refreshed hardware lineup, Amazon (and Microsoft) announced back in September that Skype calling was coming to Alexa devices later in the year. Well, it's later in the year, and the new functionality is rolling out starting today. You can link your Skype account to your Alexa devices in the Alexa app.

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Verizon 'My Numbers' lets you have multiple phone numbers on a single device for $15 each

There are (apparently) people who want to use the same number on multiple phones. In that case, you could (but should not) get the Verizon Palm Phone. For those who want it the other way around, the new My Numbers service from Verizon lets you add more numbers to a single phone, but it'll cost you more money.

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Eufy Genie catches up to Amazon Echos with new calling and messaging abilities

The Eufy Genie is a popular third-party Alexa-enabled smart speaker from Anker that can usually be picked up for as little as $30, making it a good alternative to the Echo Dot. It hasn't always been as capable as Amazon's own hardware, though, with the omission of calling and messaging being a prime example. The Genie is now finally getting those very features.

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Android Auto less distracting than native infotainment systems, study finds

Research by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has found that both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are less distracting than various infotainment systems built into 10 model year 2017 and 2018 vehicles. The study compared how much attention various tasks require on each platform and found Android Auto's attention demand to be moderate, whereas overall demand of native systems was found to be very high.

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Google Home calling is now live in the UK

You might think making phone calls with Google Home would be a basic function available from launch, but you'd be wrong. VoIP calling eventually came to users in the US and Canada last August, but it's eluded other regions until now. At Google's October 4th hardware last year the UK was promised similar functionality — due to go live later in the year. It's a bit late, but UK Google Home users are finally able to make hands-free calls as of today.

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[Update: Official changelog] Google Voice v5.7 prepares to enable VoIP directly within the app [APK Teardown]

Google has been dabbling in the realm of Internet-based calling for years. First it was Gmail, then Hangouts got in on the action. While there were ways (and even third-party products) to use the Google Voice service for VoIP, it was probably the least enjoyable calling experience we've seen that didn't involve MacGyver-style shorting of exposed wires to dial a number. Now an update to the Google Voice app reveals that it's finally going to make its VoIP capabilities an official feature, and it'll be usable directly from your phone without any hacky workarounds.

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Hands-free Home calling coming to the UK later this year

Country-related news for Google Home continues. Now the focus is hands-free calling on the Google Home. The UK is the latest country to get the feature, coming later this year. 

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You can now make Alexa-to-phone number calls in the US, Canada, Mexico, and Alexa-to-Alexa calls in the UK, Germany, and Austria

Amazon introduced calling and messaging to its Echo speakers back in May then implemented the same feature inside the Alexa app so you could start a call or receive one from your phone, without having to be near your Echo. However, the feature had one main limitation: the person you were calling had to have an Echo or at least Alexa calling set up. Calls to phone numbers weren't possible, but now they are.

Amazon secretly enabled the option a couple of days ago and has now officially added it to the Alexa app changelog. After setting up Alexa calling and messaging in the app's Conversations tab, you can say something like, "Call dad's phone," or, "Call dad's mobile phone number," and it will perform a call to the phone number.

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