As part of a collab with the World Health Organisation, Google announced a new Assistant command Friday to walk (or, rather, sing) users through one of the most basic yet crucial defences against spreading potentially fatal contagions: washing your hands.
The right way, mind you—something most folks fail to do a whopping 97 per cent of the time, according to a study by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Saying “Hey Google, help me wash my hands” now triggers Google Assistant to play an instructional song to the tune of “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” for 40 seconds, which is the minimum duration recommended by WHO to truly get all that microscopic crud off your hands.
“Google Assistant can help you and your family put the handwashing best practices from WHO to use,” the company wrote on Twitter.
As first spotted by 9to5 Google, the command works on all Google Assistant devices. On mobile, accompanying lyrics pop up (no bouncing ball, though, sadly) and on smart displays like the Nest Hub a graphic of soap bubbles appears.
It’s an undeniably elementary little ditty, with lyrics like “Lather up your hands, bout half a minute more \ Get in between each finger you can never be too sure,” but also serves as a good reminder of the small ways people can help curb the outbreak’s spread even if they don’t consider themselves particularly at risk for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
New research has continued to confirm evidence that the majority of carriers spreading the virus and fuelling this global pandemic show no or only very mild symptoms. So please, take the time to wash your hands correctly; if not for the sake of preserving your own health, then for the sake of the people your germ-ridden mitts could unknowingly pass that crap onto.
And if Google Assistant’s robotic tune isn’t your style, Twitter’s also suggested several alternatives from popular songs that last 20 seconds, the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommended duration for handwashing (aka: The reason I’ve had the chorus from Cats’ “Skimbleshanks: The Railway Cat” stuck in my head all this month).