Hey Google, Tell Me A Story
In honor of National Tell a Story Day on April 27th, Google has announced that their action Tell Me A Story is available on Android and iOS phones in the U.S, U.K, Canada, Australia, and India. Users only need to say “Hey Google, tell me a story” to hear stories from favorites like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or Blaze and the Monster Machines. As long as users have the most updated Google Play Books, they’ll be able to listen to stories on their phones starting April 25th.
Read Along with Google and Disney
Earlier this year, Google Home partnered with Disney to create sound effects and music for a number of their Golden Books. Users can say “Hey Google, let’s read along with Disney” to add the effects to their storytelling. The Google Home is able to follow along if the reader skips a part or takes a break, playing ambient music. Compatible books include Moana, Coco, Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland.
There are also Disney-branded activities available with the Google Home. The “Mickey Mouse Magic Show,” for example, allows children to choose their own adventure as they help Mickey get to his magic show on time. When kids are using the Google Home, parents should use the Family Link app as they’ll be able to block certain apps and monitor screen time.
Amazon Alexa Competes with Google for Storytelling
Google is not the only tech giant to expand into the children’s storytelling space. In February, Amazon Alexa and Audible partnered with Chooseco, a publisher of Choose Your Own Adventure books, to create a new skill for Alexa. The skill was initially available for Journey Under the Sea and The Abominable Snowman, both by R.A Montgomery. To begin reading either book with Alexa, users must say “Alexa, open Choose Your Own Adventure”.
Before the Amazon partnership, Chooseco had spent years trying to convert their books into audio with little success according to Shannon Gilligan, Chooseco’s CEO and Publisher. Fortunately, Audible had the expertise necessary to greatly improve user experience including text from other storylines, the ability to turn back a page, and more. With the smart sound technology of the most popular smart home platforms, publishers can convert their children’s books and activities into skills and actions for IoT devices.