How to use Google Assistant to make WhatsApp calls

The Google – WhatsApp integration was announced last year, and it would let you start an audio or video call on the app via Google Assistant. As usual, when Google launches some features they are usually geo-restricted to the USA, but this one is now widely available. It should be noted that the actual commands you need to use to utilize it are a little less than intuitive and quirky.

You need to phrase things just so in order for Google Assistant to understand you actually want to use WhatsApp to make a call, which is mildly annoying. Fortunately, we’ve got a quick and easy guide to get you fluent in Google Assistant speak.

In its announcement, Google said you should ask “Hey Google, WhatsApp video John.” When you try that, Google Assistant decides to play videos on YouTube. Perfect! Instead, you should use these different commands:

  • Video call:
    • Hey Google, make a WhatsApp video call to [contact-name]
    • Hey Google, video call [contact-name] on WhatsApp
  • Audio call:
    • Hey Google, make a WhatsApp call to [contact-name]
    • Hey Google, call [contact-name] on WhatsApp

If you don’t have WhatsApp installed, Google Assistant will ask you to install the app first and if you have people with the same names it will ask you to specify which actual contact you want to reach.

It should be noted that in case you don’t specify “WhatsApp” in your command, Google’s Duo integration takes over and the audio or video call is routed through Duo, so make sure you get the command right.

If you want to make Whatsapp calls in a jiffy, you should add a nickname to your most frequently called contacts. That way Google Assistant won’t be confused if you have two Johns in your address book, or if your husband is called Mary and your mother-in-law Mary.

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