Mother’s Day is coming up this weekend, so to help make it just a bit easier to organise the family for a celebration, Google is giving the Google Assistant a handful of new features including Family Broadcast.
While users can already use the Google Assistant’s standard Broadcast feature to send voice clips to other Google smart speakers or devices in your home, with the new Family Broadcast feature, you can now create a Google Family Group and send broadcasts to everyone at the same time, regardless of whether they’re at home or somewhere else.
Google says that with the Family Broadcast update, voice clips can now be sent to both Google Assistant smart speakers and mobile devices (both Android and iOS via the Google Assistant app), with mobile devices also getting a handy button to reply to broadcasts after they arrive on the recipient’s device. While this is largely an extension of the existing Google Assistant Broadcast feature, it could still come in handy for quickly rounding up family members before a big dinner.
In addition to Family Broadcast, Google is also sprucing up the Assistant’s Family Bell feature with the ability to turn off reminder sounds simply by saying “stop,” without needing to say “Hey, Google” or “OK, Google” first — just like you can with timers and alarms. And over the “coming weeks,” Google says it will expand support for Family Bell to eight additional languages including French, Japanese, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, German, Hindi, and Korean. And similar to Family Broadcast, Family Bell is also getting the ability to ping multiple smart devices at the same time.
Meanwhile, the Google Assistant is also getting support for some new games and stories that can be played on both smart displays and Android devices, including some bedtime stories from the Harry Potter universe (“Hey Google, tell me a Quidditch story.”), and the “Who Was?” series, which is made up of illustrated profiles and biographies covering a range of people from David Bowie to RuPaul.
Alternatively, if you’re looking for some more interactive experience, Google’s smart displays are also getting some new games like Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?
Finally, after the success of its handwashing song, Google is adding a few more kid-friendly songs for other tasks and chores including a clean up song, a sleep song, and even a teeth brushing song. And if that’s not enough, Google says there are also a few hidden Google Assistant easter eggs for Mother’s Day, one of which is tied to the Assistant’s normal timer feature. (That said, it seems the easter egg hasn’t been activated just yet, so you might want to wait until Sunday to test it out.)
The Google Assistant’s Family Broadcast feature should arrive on devices in time for Mother’s Day this weekend, with the other additions arriving sometimes in the coming weeks.