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Google Assistant can now place your WhatsApp video and audio calls

A WhatsApp app icon closeup on a smartphone.A WhatsApp app icon closeup on a smartphone.

If you want Google Assistant to send a text message, there are many different services you can use to do so, including Facebook Messenger, Telegram, Viber, and obviously your SMS app of choice. Video and audio calls have, unfortunately, been limited to only a few choices, but today, WhatsApp joins the fold.

Starting now, you can ask Google Assistant on your smartphone to start a video or audio call through WhatsApp. It’s as simple as saying, “Hey Google, WhatsApp video Andrew,” or “Hey Google, WhatsApp call Sarah.”

Previously, audio calls through Google Assistant would only work through your traditional network dialer and video calls through the Assistant only worked with Google-owned Hangouts or Duo. With WhatsApp integration, video/audio calls just got a lot easier for millions of people around the world.

Google doesn’t clarify as much in its emailed announcement, but it’s safe to say that this feature only works on smartphones. All Assistant is doing is opening WhatsApp and making the appropriate call, which your smart device can’t do on its own. Therefore, don’t bother trying to get your Google Nest Hub to start making audio calls through WhatsApp.

If you try out the new service on your phone and it doesn’t work, just give it time: this is probably a patented “slow rollout” from Google, so it could be days or even weeks before it works for everyone around the world.

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