Families everywhere are beginning to plan for another school year that will likely remain in a virtual setting. The global pandemic has forced most schools to pause in-person learning and that will require parents and guardians to try and figure out how to best help their kids in this new reality. Google, today, announced a bunch of helpful features coming to the Google Assistant that I can already see myself taking advantage of.
Google Assistant Family Bell
The first new feature from Google is called Family Bell. A Family Bell is essentially a schedule that can be set within Google Assistant to ding or ring or announce that it’s time for a new task or activity or even a break. To get started, you’ll simply say, “Hey Google, create a Family Bell,” before adding one.
Google will suggest some Bells, like one for breakfast, another for recess, or one that will tell your household that it’s time for virtual school to start. You can schedule these by time and day, and target them to specific Assistant-powered devices like speakers or smart displays.
Family Bell will start to rollout today in the US, Canada, UK, Australia, and India. To check for it, try that command I just mentioned or head into your Google Assistant settings on your phone (open Assistant and tap Profile picture or initial> Assistant settings>Assistant>Family Bell).
Other virtual helpers
In addition to the new Family Bell, Google is rolling out the following new features:
- Start the school day: With a new command of “Hey Google, start the school day!” your Assistant speakers will be able to fire up a school-themed visual and play familiar sounds (like kids messing around in their lockers). That command can even trigger your smart lights to flash in red, orange and yellow colors to help get the kids ready.
- Broadcast to specific rooms: Broadcasting a message throughout your house using Assistant speakers has been a thing for a while, but Google is now letting you do it to specific rooms. Starting today, you’ll be able to say “Hey Google, broadcast to bathroom, ‘finish pooping, it’s time for dinner!’”
- More learning commands: There are a number of other commands for you to try and get some help from the Assistant, like “Hey Google, help me with my homework” or “Hey Google, tell me about the animal of the day.” Google Assistant can (of course) still help you with math problems too.
We’ll get through this, y’all.