Google Assistant adds Family Bell for scheduled reminders, broadcasting to a specific room, and more
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the fall school year will be a little different for many families across the U.S. To help parents and kids cope with the new normal, Google has introduced new Assistant features to make balancing school and home life a little easier.
One of the big new features is called Family Bell, which allows Assistant users to add bell reminders throughout the day, such as when it’s time to start an online class, take a break, or sit down to read. It’s supposed to mimic what kids would experience at school, bringing a similar structure and routine to the home.
With the update, users should now see a Family Bell option in their Assistant settings. The feature is rolling out today in English in the U.S., Canada, U.K., Australia, and India.
In addition to the sound of a school bell, Google is also bringing the sounds of a school hall to your home. Simply say, “Hey Google, start the school day!” and Smart Displays will show a school-themed visual and play sounds you’d hear while in school, including kids shuffling through their lockers.
If you have smart lights, they can also be triggered to go along with the Assistant’s new school-focused capabilities. These sights and sounds are now available on Assistant-enabled devices around the globe.
Google is also making Assistant-enabled devices better sources of information, so you can ask your Nest Hub, for example, to tell you about the animal of the day. The search giant said users can also ask for homework help, and they’ll be given information about historical events, the periodic table, and more.
Finally, Google is allowing Assistant users to broadcast to a specific room or device. If you’re in the kitchen and want to reach someone in the bedroom, just say, “Hey Google, broadcast to the bedroom, ‘breakfast is ready!’” Previously, broadcasting a message would send the message to every device in the current home. The feature is rolling out now in English for Assistant-enabled smart speakers and Smart Displays around the world.