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Google Home enhances Disney storytimes with sound effects and music

Little Golden Books were awesome, no matter what age you are now, and now Disney is bringing a little of that magic to life with a new feature for Google Home that brings story time to life. You might not be surprised to hear that Google Home can read out loud to your kids, but it also turns out that Google is augmenting the real-life story time between parents and kids by adding sound effects and soundtracks to a series of Disney’s read-along books.

Employing its on-board A.I., Google Home will use its voice recognition technology to augment the reading of a dozen or so supported books. Parents (or kids, for that matter) just have to command the smart speaker, “Hey Google, let’s read along with Disney,” and the Home speaker will recognize the book and spring into action as the text is read out loud.

For those who know and love these stories, it’s a neat way to bring a story to life. Users might hear the tick-tock of Peter Pan’s crocodile during Peter Pan, the sounds of carolers in Mickey’s Christmas Carol, a Target exclusive, or the strumming of a mariachi guitar in Coco.

If the reader skips ahead or goes backward in the book, Google Home will also recognize that change and seamlessly adjust to match the story. If the user pauses (when kids chime in during story time, or want to skip to their favorite part, as kids are wont to do) ambient music will play until the user begins reading again. This adds a degree of flexibility for busy parents who are trying to make time to spend with their kids, not to mention an added special effect for that 200th reading of Jack Jack Attack.

It might seem like just another way for technology to replace tradition but the intuitive nature of Google’s A.I. in this feature makes it more than just a special effect. It’s a lot more interesting than Amazon’s Alexa skill for Disney Stories, which only replaces real-life story time with an automated narration.

The newly upgraded Little Golden Books go on sale this week alongside Google Home devices in stores like Walmart, Target and Barnes & Noble.

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