Google has announced a number of new features for its in-house digital assistant, Google Assistant. Previously users were limited to sending messages, recording and sending voice messages and even reading incoming messages using Google Assistant. The new update adds to this feature-set, allowing the digital assistant to finally make WhatsApp calls using voice commands. In the past, Google Assistant was limited to cellular calls or VoIP calls using Google Duo or Hangouts.
Google Assistant update details
According to a report by Android Police, the company announced this new update in a new blog post. As part of the update, the company is also rolling out Ambient Mode for Google Assistant. This mode will make it easier for users to see notifications and reminders, start media playback from the lock screen. Taking a closer look at the post, these new features seem to be geared towards Assistant-powered smart devices. Addition of such features will make Assistant-powered smart speakers or smart display devices more useful. This feature addition will also make Assistant a preferred to invoke hands-free calls in countries with expensive call rates. The report also gave some examples of the voice commands for making WhatsApp calls.
Google Assistant users can give commands like “Hey Google, WhatsApp video John” to make calls. The company stated that the command is available now but it does not seem to be working for me. It is likely that Google is rolling out the new update in a phased manner to all Google Assistant devices.
As noted in the report, Google did not clarify if the new WhatsApp integration is limited to smartphones. However, it is likely that Google has limited support for WhatsApp calling to smartphones. This is because the app does not currently support Smart home devices or speakers. Addition support for WhatsApp calls on Assistant-powered smart speakers and displays means additional functionality. This also means that WhatsApp will have to fundamentally change how its mobile app works.