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Google Home updates will provide visual responses on an iPhone display, hands-free calling

Google has revealed a number of updates it will be rolling out to the Google Home connected speaker, with major additions including the device's ability to put responses to queries on a nearby display, such as the user's iPhone, as well as being able to place phone calls from the device itself.




Shown at the Google I/O developer conference, the Google Home's "Visual Responses" will use the screens of nearby devices in order to give an image or video-based reply to a question. For example, directions for how to get to the user's next appointment could be forwarded to an iPhone with a map, or a relevant video could be displayed on a television equipped with Chromecast.

Google Home will also offer "Proactive Assistance" to its users, giving notifications and important information about events when the device believes the user may need it. This is primarily useful for appointments in a calendar, with it able to warn earlier in advance if the user may experience heavier traffic on the way.

Hands-free calling will allow users to make calls to other people, simply by asking Google Assistant to place it. Calls to numbers in the United States and Canada will be free, and though it won't need to use a smartphone to place the call, the Assistant can be set up to display the user's phone number on the recipient's caller ID system, instead of a private number.

Google expects to roll out hands-free calling to US device owners in the next few months.

For music, Google Home will support Spotify's free music streaming service this summer, with Soundcloud and Deezer also said to be on the way. For users who do not use streaming services, Bluetooth support is coming to Home devices in the future, allowing for music to be played through Google Home from a smartphone or tablet.