You can play YouTube Music without ads on Google Home speakers

Photograph of Google Home Hub, Home Mini, and Home side by side

Google announced today on the YouTube blog that anyone with a Google Home or Google Assistant-powered speaker can now listen to ad-free music from YouTube Music.

Google notes that you can’t pick and choose which songs or albums you want to listen to — you can only listen to pre-populated playlists. That said, you still have the option to upgrade to YouTube Music Premium for $9.99 each month and get the benefits that come with a subscription. Those benefits include listening to music on-demand, offline listening, and more.

See also: Is YouTube Music worth the switch?

If you already own a Google Home device, open the Google Home app and select Account Settings. From there, tap Music and select YouTube Music as the default music service. If you just got a Google Home speaker, you can choose YouTube Music as the default music service during setup.

You can try out ad-free YouTube Music listening on your Google Home or Google Assistant speaker if you live in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Australia, the U.K., Ireland, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Japan, the Netherlands, and Austria. The feature will be available in other countries “soon.”

Whether you want YouTube Music as your default music service is another question, however. Even though Google will eventually merge YouTube Music and Google Play Music, the latter’s locker service is still notably absent from the former. Also absent are gapless playback, proper library management, and more.

You can now make Google Duo audio calls on Home speakers

Photograph of Google Home Hub, Home Mini, and Home side by side

Google Duo is becoming an ever more popular option for those wishing to video call someone — especially now that you can make videos calls from the web. But now, Google is expanding Duo’s audio calling feature. As spotted by a user on Twitter, Google Duo audio calls can now be initiated and answered on Home speakers (via Android Police).

The expansion of Google Duo’s audio calls shouldn’t be too surprising. After the Home Hub was released, owners noticed that they could place Duo calls despite the Smart Display not including a webcam. Google confirmed the audio calling functionality to Android Police at that time.

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As long as you already have a Duo account, you can set up audio calls for your smart speakers within the Google Home app. The setting can be found in Account > Settings > Services > Voice & video calls > Voice & Voice Apps.

From our testing, it appears as though the Duo calling feature does not work on third-party Google Assistant speakers. The limitation means that you have to own Home smart speakers to place calls via your phone number or Duo.

What do you think about this new feature? Do you think you’ll ever call someone on Duo over your Google Home speakers? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below!

The Google Store is offering holiday deals on Home Hub, Nest products, and more

Google Home Hub

Black Friday was only a couple of weeks ago, but the Google Store is already back with its holiday sale. If you didn’t happen to purchase presents yet, these discounts should save you some money.

First up, Google is yet again discounting its latest smartphones. While the sales aren’t as great as what we saw back during Black Friday and Cyber Monday, they might be enough to make you consider picking up a Pixel 3 or Pixel 3 XL for yourself or a loved one.

The Google Store’s Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL discounts are live right now and will end on December 22. 

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Next up, Google is taking a decent amount off of its smart home tech. This includes deals on the original Google Home, Home Max, Home Hub, and the 4K-capable Chromecast Ultra.

You can take advantage of these deals between now and December 24.

Since late November, Google has been offering customers $80 off when they bundle the Home Hub with select Nest products. The Google Store is upping this deal and is taking an additional $20 off the bundled cost, bringing the saving to $100.

The below bundles are also available starting today with discounts ending on December 24.