Google Assistant has released a new feature that allows kids to talk to Santa. All they have to do is say “Hey Google, call Santa” to be connected with the North Pole. It’s part of a larger release of holiday features aimed at children and families who own the smart speaker.
Aside from helping Santa rehearse for a musical concert, kids can also use Google Assistant to improve their manners with a feature called Pretty Please. This November 29th update rewards users for saying “please” or “thank you” to the Assistant by answering with “thanks for asking so nicely”. Another feature allows users with a Google Play Music subscription to sing along to songs using synchronized lyrics on the Smart Display.
In addition, Google has created non-holiday related enhanced features for its Home Hub. Broadcast Replies will allow someone to remotely communicate with their family at home through Google Assistant. At-home users may reply back through a smart speaker, a Smart Display, or any other Home devices. Next, Google has made it easier to share photos from Smart Displays to family and friends. Users can vocally command Google Assistant to share photos, as well as hide or favorite photos. Finally, Google has made it easier to set an alarm on the Smart Display, adding a timer button to the area where the users swipes up from the home screen.
The Google Assistant’s new holiday features are part of a larger move to create products for children. In late October, Google announced that it has partnered with Disney to create read-along books through Google Home. For a select number of Golden Books, Google Home can add sound effects and music to old-fashioned storytelling. Similarly, Amazon has partnered with Novel Effect, a company that creates voice interactive storytelling for children’s books. Given the exponential increase in the usage of smart home platforms, it’s not surprising that companies are looking to market to children as well as adults.
For more information, read our article about using Google Home routines.