Google Assistant Launches New Features in Preparation for the Holidays

Just in time for the holidays, Google Assistant launched several new features yesterday: Pretty Please, notes and lists, visual lyrics for Smart Displays, Nest Hello doorbell two-way talk, and visuals for the “Call Santa” feature. New Disney and Nickelodeon content, as well as the ability to reply to broadcast messages, are coming soon, says Google. Here is a breakdown of the new Google Assistant features available as of yesterday:

  • The goal of the Pretty Please feature is to encourage polite manners. If users incorporate the words “please” or “thank you” into their voice commands, they will be rewarded with “delightful responses.” As seen in the GIF on this page, a delightful response from Google Assistant could consist of a response preference like “Thanks for asking so nicely.”
  • Yesterday, the ability to create lists and notes with voice commands for Google Assistant also became available. Commands include, “Create a gift list. Show me my last note. What’s on my to-do list?” Google also said in their announcement blog post they were adding support for Google Keep,, Bing!, and Todoist soon. These programs offer services for task keeping and shopping services.
  • The Google Home Hub and the Nest Hello offer a video doorbell to let users know who is at the door. What was announced yesterday was the ability to use a two-way talkback feature with the video doorbell. The two-way talkback feature allows users to speak with guests before they are allowed in. Users can use this feature after someone has rung the doorbell by tapping the blue “Talk” button.
  • Select songs can now be played with the Google Assistant Home Hub to show synchronized lyrics if you are subscribed to Google Play Music.
  • Assistant also expands the number of books you can read along with sound effects. Over 50 titles are now available from Disney, Nickelodeon, and Storynory. Classic holiday titles, Nickelodeon based Holiday titles, and select Nickelodeon and Disney stories are all available.
  • Users can also “Call Santa” to help him finish up some tasks before his big night. The Home Hub also offers visual “Call Santa” games for kids to play.
  • Broadcast Replies allow users to reply back from a smart speaker or Smart Display to a phone or other Home devices. Voice commands like “Hey Google, share this photo with April” allow users to share photos with people on their contact list.

New Features Aim to Engage and Entertain Users During the Holiday Season

These features aim to further engage and entertain users during the holiday season. The easier and more enjoyable consumers find it to use a voice assistant, and the more reliable voice assistants become in engaging adults and children alike, the more consumers will view voice assistants as a necessary device in their home. Features to engage children with storytime and calling Santa may make the Home Hub more enticing, as they have the possibility of becoming a staple entertainment device in homes. The features to manage visitors, daily tasks, and connect easily through devices are certainly helpful, and provide convenience. However, Google really seems to be taking an emotional approach – an appeal to the cheerful and joyful mood of the holiday season. This is a great way to try and build up a loyal consumer base – if Google Assistant can help out during the holidays, it is possible that consumers will let it stick around.

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