Google Assistant and Google Fi get new family management tools in time for the holidays
Your holidays will probably look a lot different this year thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. But just because your plans are different doesn’t mean they have to be hard. To help keep parents sane over the holidays, Google has introduced new management tools for Google Assistant and Google Fi.
Many of the new Google Assistant functions relate to Smart Displays, including the Nest Hub Max. There’s now a “Family” tab, which will include a number of features that will help families stay on task and aware of where everyone is.
Family Notes is a feature that’s rolling out today, and it allows users to create digital sticky notes. They can be to-dos, reminders, or whatever thoughts you might want visible on your Smart Display. Google’s example features a family note that reminds the household to defrost a pie.
Google Assistant is also adding more sound effects and suggested bells to its Family Bell feature. Family Bell makes it easy for households to broadcast a recurring reminder, like it’s time to do chores or eat dinner. In the coming weeks, Google will also make it possible to pause your bells for a single day, so you can enjoy a day off without any interruptions.
Speaking of enjoying your day, Google is adding new education features to its Smart Displays. Ask Google, “What can I learn with my family,” and you’ll see learning activities from providers like ABCmouse. You can also ask Google Assistant to tell you about the animal of the day, and you’ll get some interesting facts, as well as what they sound like. Google has also added a new interactive story category on Smart Displays and phones, so you can flip through pages and follow along word-for-word.
The last family feature is focused on keeping track of your family’s whereabouts. With the help of Life360 and Google Maps, you can see where everyone in your household is at any given moment. You need to be over the age of 13 to use this feature and also have a family account with Google.
Meanwhile, Google announced it’s rolling out new family features for Google Fi. Parents can block calls and texts from strangers by only allowing saved and recent contacts to reach them. You can also set a data budget to restrict data usage, and Google is also making it easier to set up Family Link on a family member’s phone. The feature allows account holders to set content filters, limit screen time, and manage group downloads.
All of these new Google Fi features are available at no additional cost.