Amazon and Google Want to Turn Their Smart Home Speakers Into Telephone Replacements

Discussion in ' News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Feb 15, 2017.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Both Amazon and Google are working on turning their popular AI-based speaker products into replacements for a home telephone, reports The Wall Street Journal.

    The Amazon Echo and/or the Google Home could be used to make and receive phone calls, with the two companies planning to add the updated functionality as soon as this year. Smart home products like the Amazon Echo have become a staple in the lives of many people and the ability to make phone calls directly from the device would be a valuable addition.

    Google and Amazon are said to be working to overcome concerns about privacy, telecom regulations, and emergency services, plus the "inherent awkwardness" of making phone conversations via a speaker. The two companies are worried consumers won't want to speak on a device that is able to record conversations. Both the Echo and the Home continuously record audio to enable AI responses.


    One source that spoke to The Wall Street Journal said that Amazon would only collect metadata from phone calls rather than conversations themselves, and while it's unclear what Google would retain, a Home-based call service would likely resemble Google Voice, which does not record phone calls.
    The news is of interest to Apple followers because Apple is also rumored to be working on a connected smart home device that would compete with Amazon's Echo and Google's Home. It's reasonable to assume that when and if Apple releases its rumored home hub, it would be on par with already existing products. If the Amazon Echo and Google Home are set to gain calling capabilities, we can perhaps expect the same thing from an Apple product.

    Rumors thus far suggest Apple's smart home device will be powered by Siri, Apple's voice-based personal assistant that's already built into iPhones and Macs. It would reportedly be used to control HomeKit-enabled accessories while also offering "advanced microphone and speaker technology." The device, in addition to serving as a hub for smart products, would also be able to respond to typical Siri questions and do things like play music, answer queries, and more.

    The device is said to be in the prototype testing phase of development, without an official finalized plan for release. Apple could still decide not to move forward with the project should the testing phase not pan out.

    Article Link: Amazon and Google Want to Turn Their Smart Home Speakers Into Telephone Replacements
  2. hawkeye_a, Feb 15, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2017

    hawkeye_a macrumors 65816


    Jun 27, 2016
  3. Hastings101 macrumors 68020


    Jun 22, 2010
    It would be nice if Echo supported more languages than English and could set reminders via "Remind me on X date or in X minutes" before it tries to conquer being my home phone.
  4. lordofthereef macrumors G5


    Nov 29, 2011
    Boston, MA
    I can see this making sense in some, admittedly niche, situations.

    Kind of crazy how we essentially moved away from home phones in favor of completely wireless phones and now are, to a degree, moving back to the dedicated line wth these products.
  5. AppleWarMachine macrumors 65816


    Sep 27, 2011
    Michigan, US
    replace what home phone?

    and my iPhone already has a speaker ;)

    "Both the Echo and the Home continuously record audio to enable AI responses." :eek:
  6. farewelwilliams macrumors 68000

    Jun 18, 2014
    this would make sense for Apple. you can transfer the call to your iphone if you don't want to talk on the speaker, for example.
  7. asleep macrumors 68040


    Sep 26, 2007
    Tried this with my Echo but it's too dang big... felt like I had a shoe up to my ear.

    And I pulled the cord out of the wall when I walked into the bathroom with it.
  8. BoltmanLives, Feb 15, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2017

    BoltmanLives Suspended


    Feb 10, 2017
    FamTana coming part of any new 10 device including Harmon Kardon device
    washers , Toaster , Fridges able to distinguish family member voices for different needs.

    Too bad Roper "Fedora guy" got laid off ;(

    Echo sell 3x less than Apl watch, its not a big as people tend to believe.
  9. FasterQuieter macrumors 6502


    Feb 21, 2008
    Great, I've been hoping for this since the Echo came out. It is the perfect use for it.
  10. slu macrumors 68000


    Sep 15, 2004
    I wish my Echo could make and receive phone calls and support text messages. But I'd rather it act like Bluetooth in my car than it be a separate device or phone number.
  11. KdParker macrumors 601


    Oct 1, 2010
    Not really. I just assume you can use your mobile phone with them. Lots of people just don't have a wired home phone.
  12. 1Zach1 macrumors 65816


    Feb 8, 2008
    Northern Va
    I'd like a cleaner text interface than the way the Echo handles my AT&T texts now, before it tries to handling taking and placing phone calls.
  13. justperry macrumors G3


    Aug 10, 2007
    In the core of a black hole.
    I for one will never buy nor use a product which tap into your home at all times
    without the need to press a button.

    I like my privacy.
  14. andiwm2003 macrumors 601


    Mar 29, 2004
    Boston, MA
    i never understood why my Echo can't function like a car's handsfree system. Now I see that Amazon want's to be my phone provider and make money that way instead of just providing a free speaker system for iPhones or Androids.
  15. jdillings macrumors 68000

    Jun 21, 2015
    Amazon and Google are so clueless. The future is in watch bands.
  16. OneTokenRing... macrumors member

    Jun 24, 2015
    Not too crazy about this "anonymous" meta data collection of who I call. My cellular provider already knows this. Why does another company/service need this info?

    Just seems like another attempt to sell my consumer profile and gather more finger prints of my digital life for zero benefit to the consumer.
  17. FasterQuieter macrumors 6502


    Feb 21, 2008
    Google updated their Google Voice app recently after years of neglect. This could indicate that they are going that route.
  18. Tech198 macrumors G5

    Mar 21, 2011
    Australia, Perth
    "The two companies are worried consumers won't want to speak on a device that is able to record conversations"

    I don't see that any more of a problem than current Voip apps on smartphones that allow u to do the same thing, yet we use them just fine.. e.g Zoiper allows to record conversation. (And now i''ve mentioned it, there could be a blow back on that too)

    Plus with Amazon and Google, if u built it in to Echo and Google products the only thing limiting would be your choice of provider. I guess as Amazon Prime, and the use of Google Home, u probably would get some sort of a discount, which would encourage the service

  19. konqerror macrumors 6502

    Dec 31, 2013
    And the iPhone does too, if you use the same Macrumor's definition of "record". Since iOS 8.
  20. BuffaloTF macrumors 6502a

    Jun 10, 2008
    So change the setting to make it do that...
  21. kdarling macrumors P6


    Jun 9, 2007
    First university coding class = 47 years ago
    What awkwardness? A lot of us spend half the day on a speakerphone in office conference calls :)

    Many people at home also do the same.

    They only start after a keyword (e.g. "Alexa...") enables capturing the voice command that follows.
  22. WBRacing macrumors 65816


    Nov 19, 2012
    Says you on a public forum, happily having your IP addresses captured each time you access the site as well as other device data. Facebook profile? Surf the internet?

    Sorry to say, you compromised your privacy a long time ago.
  23. kaneda macrumors 6502

    Oct 27, 2001
    I want stupid stuff. Oh, wait! I got siri.. :)
  24. MH01 Suspended


    Feb 11, 2008
  25. justperry macrumors G3


    Aug 10, 2007
    In the core of a black hole.
    I use a VPN on all my devices.:p
    Don't use Facebook or similar crap.:D

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