If you’ve got little ones who just love a bedtime story, Google’s here to help – their new ‘read along’ feature brings the magic of Disney to life, creating sound effects and music as you read aloud the classics with your children.
Right now there are around 15 titles you can choose from, including Aladdin, Alice in Wonderland and The Lion King. And this little thing is so clever it knows when you’ve skipped ahead in the story and adjusts accordingly. Whilst you take a break from storytelling, it plays soft music – and when you don’t have a book with you to read from, it just reads you a story itself. All you need to do to activate it is to say, “Hey Google, read along with…” and the title of the book you’ve chosen.
Remember Important Information
If you’re the forgetful type, or are constantly misplacing your keys, your Google Home will remember for you. Ask your Google Assistant to remember where your car is parked, your Wi-Fi password, where you’ve put your passport, or who you’ve given the patio door key to. Say your command in the simplest phrasing possible so it can recall it easily, but if you’ve forgotten how you phrased the command in the first place, ask your virtual assistant, “Ok Google, what did I ask you to remember?” and it lists off everything you asked it to recall at a later date.
Plan Your Holiday
Forget travel agents – Google Assistant is going to help you book your next trip away. If you want to know the cheapest or best last-minute flights to certain countries, it’ll tell you. Or if you’re not sure where to go, it can also give you holiday ideas. Once you’ve got your destination locked down, you can start learning the language. Just say, “Ok Google, be my [insert language] interpreter,” and it’ll translate out loud and write it out – if you have a device with a screen to hand, that is – in real time. There are a couple of flaws in the system – it takes a few seconds to translate, which can be difficult particularly if you’re using it on your actual holiday with someone in a restaurant, for example. But still really handy, and can currently translate around 27 languages.
Switch Between Languages
And speaking of languages, if you live in a bilingual home, or are trying to raise a bilingual child, Google Home allows you to switch between two languages. It currently has 12 to choose from: English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Norwegian, Swedish, Danish, Dutch, Hindi, Korean and Japanese. It can recognise which language you’re speaking and answer your question in that same language (but you can’t mix two language in one sentence).
Take Control of Your Netflix
Your lazy Sundays are about to get even lazier: if Netflix is set up on your Android, connected and you’re signed into the app, Google Assistant can play it for you by voice command alone. For example, simply say, “Hey Google, play Friends on Netflix” and you’re wish is its command – literally.
Save A Life
While this isn’t a feature of Google Assistant just yet, the University of Washington are working on a smart system that can listen and detect the characteristics of a heart attack, such as gasping breathes. They have trained the system to recognise these sounds using real emergency calls. This could be built into smart home tech in the near future, but you can use it to call the emergency services in the meantime.