Google is encouraging reading habits among children by making a very important update to its digital assistant. Going forward, you can ask Google Assistant to tell you a story on iOS and Android. The “Tell me a Story” feature was launched by Google to mark this year’s National Tell A Story Day in the US; and the feature will let your Google Assistant powered devices to read your kids a story.
This could happen in different ways including while in a long car ride, or when you want to keep your kids occupied in order to focus on some other tasks. All you need to do is to say: “Hey Google, tell me a story,” and you will be able to hear stories like “Let’s Be Firefighters!” (Blaze and the Monster Machines) and “Robot Rampage” (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles). You can also say: “Hey Google, tell me a bedtime story,” especially when it is that time of the day when you want your kids to go to bed.
“Whether you’re on the way to school drop-off or waiting for soccer practice to start, you can hear [fully narrated] stories,” Google Assistant product manager Eric Liu wrote in a blog post.
You can also enjoy reading together with your family by asking your Assistant to read an audiobook on Google Play. Of course, you will have to log into your Google Play Books account and use the command word: “Hey Google, read Charlotte’s Web,” or any audiobook title. If you don’t already have the audiobook, a free sample will be read out for you while you listen.
Audiobooks are currently only available to the Assistant in English in the US, Australia, the UK, and Canada, as well as German and Japanese languages. You can adjust your settings whichever way you prefer by using your voice to pause, resume or skip forward or backward in your audiobook.
A couple of weeks ago, Google finally granted Calendar app access to the Assistant on your phone. The tech giant also announced that the assistant is also coming to G Suite. That announcement coincided with Google’s Cloud Next conference in San Francisco.
Users with G Suite accounts can start testing with Assistant from last Wednesday. Once you are signed in with a G Suite account, and your Google Calendar app synchronized as well, you can proceed to ask Assistant to tell you the date of your next meeting. This works across platforms—mobile and desktop to be precise.
Please note that this only works with Google Assistant that is synchronized with your work account. What that means is that it won’t work with assistant synched with your personal account since it is only an enterprise feature for businesses that use G Suite.