Google Assistant Introduces New Stories Offering for Kids and Adults
Google announced in a blog post Friday that it is now has several new stories that will appeal to both kids and adults. For kids, there are offerings from Mickey Mouse Story Time and the Cars Adventures Google Assistant app. The former will supposedly tell you stories, but I couldn’t get it to work. The search engine took over and kept telling me the show times for the television show. I also had an issue accessing classic tales that Google said were on offer such as “Little Red Riding Hood” and “Cinderella.” The former offered me a YouTube rendition while the latter brought up stories about Loyola-Chicago’s surprise winning streak in the NCAA basketball tournament. It is unlike Google to roll these new features out and not have them fully tested.
On the other hand, the Cars Adventures Assistant app started right up and offered me the opportunity to race or play a game. The key difference here is that Cars Adventures has a dedicated Google Assistant app and the other features do not. Another set of successful story engagements were with NPR’s StoryCorps which also has a dedicated Assistant app. And, asking for a limerick also was successful. Regardless, you can see that Google is working toward making it easier to access audio content through Google Home and Assistant with as little friction as possible. This is working more reliably when the content is backed by a custom Google Assistant app.
Matching Pace with Amazon
The timing seemed like Google was trying to have news that matched the recent announcement from Amazon of its new Echo for Kids Edition bundled with the Free Time Unlimited Services. In October, Google announced 50 kid-friendly Assistant apps about a month after Amazon announced its Alexa skills for kids offering. Kids are an attractive demographic for smart speakers because they impact which devices will be used most in the home. You should expect to see more about this from Google in the coming months.