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Google Home getting some useful family enhancements

This is cut and pasted from the Google Blog, a set of features that are upcoming or already rolled out in some instances to Google Assistant/Home. I found this quite interesting in the kiddo context. You can read the full Google Blog post here.

Setting up daily habits as a family

Especially during the holiday season, sticking to family habits can be challenging, whether that’s picking up toys, making the bed or getting started with homework. To make these a bit more fun, today we’re adding the ability to set up an alarm from popular animated characters with the Google Assistant on smart speakers. These new alarms will have signature music, jokes, facts, words of encouragement and other fun messages from characters in LEGO CityLEGO Life, and LEGO Friends and from Nickelodeon’s Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (including the voices of LeonardoMichelangeloRaphaelDonatello and April O’Neil) to remind everyone it’s time to finish playing and get in the bath. Just say, “Hey Google, set a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle alarm for 8:00 PM.” Cowabunga! We’ll also add characters from Spin Master’s Hatchimals later this year.

Storytime is also an important activity, and earlier this month, we added a new feature for the Assistant called Read Along that makes it possible for your smart speaker to bring a story to life with sound effects and music as you read. We’re bringing more content to this format with a new book, “Ara the Star Engineer.” Featuring real-life women engineers with diverse backgrounds, the book sparks children’s interest in STEM, focusing on themes around courage, creativity, coding and collaboration. Just say “Hey Google, Read Along with Ara the Star Engineer.”

And if you don’t have a book with you, just ask the Google Assistant to tell you a story. In the coming weeks, we’re adding 25 new family-friendly stories by Nickelodeon, including PAW Patrol’s “The Pups Save the Bunnies,” Dora the Explorer’s “Dora’s Super Sleepover,” Blaze and Monster Machines’ “Let’s Be Firefighters” and many more.

Or if you’re in the mood to choose your own adventure story as a family, you can join The Wiggles in a new interactive story on Google Home speakers and compatible smartphones. Just say “Hey Google, talk to The Wiggles” and you’ll join Emma on a fun, Wiggly adventure as she travels through town to find friends to bring to her concert.

For more fun things to do as a family, you ask the Google Assistant about things like dinosaurs, superheroes, arts and crafts and outer space to receive tailored family-friendly responses. Give these a try: “Hey Google, I lost my tooth,” or “Hey Google, check for monsters.” Family friendly-responses with the Google Assistant are available when kids under 13 are signed into devices like Google Home via the Family Link app. For parents who want to give their kids access to the Google Assistant, create an account for your children under 13 through Family Link, then link their Google Account to Google Home or other smart speakers with the Google Assistant.


Paul King

Paul King lives in Nashville Tennessee with his wife, two daughters and cats. He writes for Pocketables, theITBaby, and is an IT consultant along with doing tech support for a film production company.