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5 new Google Assistant features you can try right now

Smart assistants make life easier through hands-free control of much of the home, but they can do so much more. Google Assistant has continued to add and expand functionality, and these new Google Assistant features are a perfect example.

A lot of people have a Google Assistant device in their home, but many of the best features are under-utilized or completely ignored–but these features can save you time, keep the kids entertained, and even surprise you with hidden easter eggs. In addition to using just about any smartphone to access Google Assistant, you can command the smart assistant on a host of devices like the Google Nest Audio, Lenovo Smart Display 7, and even the Google Nest Wifi.

Use the Broadcast feature to let your family know when dinner is ready

The Broadcast feature is one of the most powerful tools in the Google Assistant lineup. It can alert everyone in the family that it’s time to eat, that you’re heading out to get groceries, and more. You can choose to send a message to the entire home, or to a specific room–for example, you might want to say, “Hey Google, broadcast to Jim’s room: Have you finished your homework yet?”

There are a couple of ways to use this tool. The first is simple. Just speak to any Google Assistant device and say, “Hey Google, broadcast…” and then tell Google what you want to say. You can also use “shout,” “tell everyone,” or “announce” instead of Broadcast.

The newest feature includes a Family Broadcast, which lets you send messages specifically to your Family Group. This means that even those that are away from home can receive your broadcast on their mobile device and reply voice.

Set reminders with the Family Bell feature

How often do you set reminders to take care of a specific task, or even to remind the rest of your family of something that needs to be done? The Family Bell feature will do exactly that–it will chime on every Assistant-enabled device in the home at the pre-set time and announce the reminder to everyone around.

Setting up a Family Bell is easy, too. Just open the Google Home app and tap your profile picture, then choose Assistant Settings. Scroll down and tap Family Bell. You then tap Add a bell and provide the announcement (to a maximum of 80 characters), the time it should trigger, what days it should repeat, and which Google Assistant devices it should appear on.

Listen to stories with your kids

When the day is winding to a close and all the chores have been finished, what better way to spend time together than listening to a story? Harry Potter is still just as popular as ever, and you can now listen to even more stories about the Wizarding World through a new feature.

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Just say, “Hey Google, tell me a Quidditch story” to hear more details about the fast-paced game of Quidditch. All stories are provided through Pottermore Publishing. More stories will arrive later in the year.

You can also learn about historical figures with the “Who Was?” series from Penguin Random House. Just say, “Hey Google, talk to Who Was Heroes” to hear stories and see details on your Nest smart display.

Test your knowledge with trivia games and more

Google Assistant is home to a lot of different interactive games, but trivia options are some of the most popular. For example, you can play “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?” just by saying “Hey Google, talk to ‘Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?” Your Assistant will ask you trivia questions and tell you if your response is accurate or not.

Image used with permission by copyright holder

If trivia isn’t your thing, you can play games like Crystal Ball, Mad Libs, and more. Google can even tell you jokes or sing songs with you. Children can get personalized Google Assistant experiences and play games designed specifically for kids, too.

Be on the lookout for Easter eggs

Google tells everyone to try using a timer on Mother’s Day to see what happens. Google Assistant is packed with hidden surprises and easter eggs to keep the experience fresh and exciting, but it also has a lot of other features that help kids stay focused.

For example, because the handwashing song was used so much during the pandemic, Google has created new songs to help kids spend the right amount of time on important tasks. Saying “Hey Google, sing the brush your teeth song” will ensure your kids stay at the sink and brush for the necessary amount of time.

“Hey Google, sing the go to sleep song” plays a little lullaby that can help your kids fall asleep.

All of these features combined can help cut down on the amount of stress throughout the day by reminding you of things you need to do, letting the family know when it’s time to come eat, and even getting the kids ready for bed.

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Patrick Hearn
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Patrick Hearn writes about smart home technology like Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, smart light bulbs, and more. If it's a…
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