Google Assistant Is Getting a New Family Broadcast Feature Just in Time for Mother's Day

Illustration for article titled Google Assistant Is Getting a New Family Broadcast Feature Just in Time for Mother's Day
Photo: Andrew Liszewski

Mother’s Day is coming up this weekend, so to help make it just a bit easier to organize the family for a celebration, Google is giving the Google Assistant a handful of new features including Family Broadcast.

Advertisement

While users can already use the Google Assistant’s standard Broadcast feature to send voice clips to other Google smart speakers or devices in your home, with the new Family Broadcast feature, you can now create a Google Family Group and send broadcasts to everyone at the same time, regardless of whether they’re at home or somewhere else.

Gif: Google

Google says that with the Family Broadcast update, voice clips can now be sent to both Google Assistant smart speakers and mobile devices (both Android and iOS via the Google Assistant app), with mobile devices also getting a handy button to reply to broadcasts after they arrive on the recipient’s device. While this is largely an extension of the existing Google Assistant Broadcast feature, it could still come in handy for quickly rounding up family members before a big dinner.

In addition to Family Broadcast, Google is also sprucing up the Assistant’s Family Bell feature with the ability to turn off reminder sounds simply by saying “stop,” without needing to say “Hey, Google” or “Ok, Google” first—just like you can with timers and alarms. And over the “coming weeks,” Google says it will expand support for Family Bell to eight additional languages including French, Japanese, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, German, Hindi, and Korean. And similar to Family Broadcast, Family Bell is also getting the ability to ping multiple smart devices at the same time.

Meanwhile, the Google Assistant is also getting support for some new games and stories that can be played on both smart displays and Android devices, including some bedtime stories from the Harry Potter universe (“Hey Google, tell me a Quidditch story.”), and the “Who Was?” series, which is made up of illustrated profiles and biographies covering a range of people from David Bowie to RuPaul.

Alternatively, if you’re looking for some more interactive experience, Google’s smart displays are also getting some new games like Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?

Illustration for article titled Google Assistant Is Getting a New Family Broadcast Feature Just in Time for Mother's Day
Image: Google
Advertisement

Finally, after the success of its handwashing song, Google is adding a few more kid-friendly songs for other tasks and chores including a clean up song, a sleep song, and even a teeth brushing song. And if that’s not enough, Google says there are also a few hidden Google Assistant easter eggs for Mother’s Day, one of which is tied to the Assistant’s normal timer feature. (That said, it seems the easter egg hasn’t been activated just yet, so you might want to wait until Sunday to test it out.)

The Google Assistant’s Family Broadcast feature should arrive on devices in time for Mother’s Day this weekend, with the other additions arriving sometimes in the coming weeks.

Advertisement

Senior reporter at Gizmodo, formerly Tom's Guide and Laptop Mag. Was an archery instructor and a penguin trainer before that.

DISCUSSION

ImALeafOnTheWind
ImALeafOnTheWind

Someone help me out on how this behaves - will a “family broadcast” of “come to dinner!” embarassing my kid while sitting in his college class hundreds of miles away from home?

I just wish they could add proper speaker-to-speaker, bi-directional intercom between specific smart-speakers like Amazon does with Echos? There have been “add feature” requests on Google’s forums asking for this for years.

The workaround implemented using Broadcast is kludgey compared to the Echo implementation since it will always broadcast to all speakers when you only wanted to address one in a specific room.

I’m also not about to put the bigger screen-based devices in each room - if Amazon could make this work with Echo Dots, then why can’t Google do it with Minis?