Google Home gets a whole host of updates including hands-free calling and visual notifications.

A Google Home smart speaker sits beside a succulent plant in a stucco pot

Google Home, Google's smart speaker, got some attention today during the Google I/O keynote. The device is set to receive several updates over the course of the year. Let's take a peek at what's coming to Google Home!

Calendar appointments and reminders

Believe it or not, Google Home didn't offer the ability to set calendar appointments or create reminders until today.

Starting today on Google Home, you can schedule appointments and soon you'll also be able to add reminders. Since it's the same Google Assistant across devices, you'll be able to get a reminder at home or on the go.

More smart home integrations

I've complained plenty about Google Home's lack of smart home integrations but Google is moving quickly to rectify that issue. Both the Google Assistant and Google Home can integrate with products from more than 70 manufacturers.

We now have 70+ smart home partners supporting the Google Assistant across Google Home and Android phones, including August locks, TP-Link, Honeywell, Logitech, and LG.

Some notable device makers:

  • Nest
  • Philips Hue
  • TP-Link
  • WeMo
  • Samsung SmartThings
  • IFTTT
  • Anova
  • August
  • D-Link
  • First Alert
  • Frigidaire
  • Honeywell
  • iDevices
  • iHome
  • iRobot
  • Leviton
  • LG
  • LIFX
  • Logitech
  • Lutron
  • OSRAM Lightify
  • Rachio
  • Ring
  • Stringify
  • Wink

Hands-free calling

Google Home is getting the in-home speakerphone treatment. The device will be able to make hands-free calls without any special setup process. You can link up Google Home with your phone number to make calls or just use Google's own private number without any further steps. Hands-free calling will make use of Google Home's voice recognition features to separate contacts for different registered users.

In the coming months, just ask your Assistant and it will connect you to mobile phones or landlines in the U.S. or Canada, free. There's no setup and no need for a phone or additional app. And since we now support multiple people on one Google Home, your Assistant can make sure that you call your mom—not your partner or roommate's mom!

More entertainment partnerships

Google Home currently works with YouTube, Netflix, and Spotify; the company will add even more entertainment partnerships soon. Soon you'll be able to ask Google Home to play music from Deezer or stream Game of Thrones on your Chromecast.

You can soon use Spotify's free music offering, as well as Soundcloud and Deezer, with Google Home. … For streaming video lovers, we've already added Netflix, and we have more partners on the way like HBO NOW, CBS All Access, and HGTV.

Bluetooth support

FINALLY! Google Home is getting a much needed feature: Bluetooth support. That means you can connect any Bluetooth device and stream to your Google Home smart speaker. It's a fantastic feature that's present in Amazon's Echo devices and I'm glad to see it's coming to Google Home. The smart speaker packs in a nice speaker but it could only play content from partner services. Bluetooth will make the smart speaker more open.

Visual responses via Chromecast-connected devices

Instead of only relying on voice feedback, the Google Assistant will also use any connected Chromecast devices to offer up visual responses. Asking about the weather, for example, could display a forecast on your Chromecast-connected television whilst a voice response plays on the Google Home.

Later this year, we'll add visual responses from your Assistant on TVs with Chromecast. You'll be able to see Assistant answers on the biggest screen in your house, whether you're asking "what's on YouTube TV right now?" or "what's on my calendar today?"

Visual notifications with Proactive Assistance

When the Google Assistant has access to your data (calendar, location information, mail, etc.) it can alert you with proactive notifications. For example, if you get an email letting you know your flight is delayed, you'll see Google Home's light ring light up. When you see it you simply ask the device, "Hey Google, what's up?" and the device will let you know what's going on. It can alert you of traffic so you leave for work on time, remind you about upcoming appointments, and more.

Thoughts?

What do you think about Google Home's latest updates? Do you have a Google Home smart speaker? Do these updates make you want one? Share your thoughts in the comments!