Users are able to access and activate the new features across their Nest smartspeakers and smart displays and all Google Assistant-enabled devices. The Google Broadcast feature has been updated to include a new “Family Broadcast” solution which lets families send voice messages to their Google Family Group and broadcast those messages, whether they be as simple as “Lunch is ready,” or something more complex, to all the connected family devices at home, as well as share them as audio messages or notifications to family members’ phones or tablets. Family members can then either respond directly, or broadcast their own reply status to everyone in the Family Group and their associated connected devices.
Another family-focused feature, Family Bell, is a recurring and highly customizable reminder tool that, similar to a school-style bell, can ring across multiple smart home devices, as well as phones and tablets, to signal the occurrence of scheduled announcements. The updated Family Bell supports eightnew languages, including Dutch, French, German, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, and Spanish. Google Assistant is also updating its content library and AI-fueled voice-activated capabilities in order to provide a more natural and familiar experience for families and users. New content partnerships with actor Reese Witherspoon’s Reese’s Book Club and the Harry Potter Wizarding World’s Pottermore Publishing provide users with a novel hands-free, immersive reading experience across their Assistant enabled devices, as well as with games and quizzes, exclusive commentary, and other fun features for the whole family. Additional partnerships with award-winning, Black woman-owned boutique publishing house The English Schoolhouse, and larger global publisher Penguin Random House's “Who Was?” series bring diverse teaching tools and educational content to Google Assistant’s array of offerings.
The growing role of smart speakers and displays in the home is part of a larger trend PSFK researchers have studied around technological advances in familial convenience and connection. New capabilities fueled by innovations in AI and voice-recognition are making user interactions with smart speakers and displays more natural, increasing both the range of assistance they are able to offer and the number of possible interactions.
This article originally appeared in PSFK’s research paper, Strengthening Remote Social Connection.