Alexa and Google Assistant Celebrate Halloween With New and Updated Features While Siri Raps
Amazon and Google have added more Halloween tricks and treats to their voice assistants than ever before, taking advantage of new devices and features to celebrate the spooky season. While they are entertaining and perhaps even scary to children, they also highlight how the voice assistants and the devices they connect to are evolving quickly. Here are a few of the more notable AI goblins, including Apple’s somewhat different approach with Siri.
Spooky Smart Speaker
Alexa and Google Assistant are both accomplished singers of tunes about handwashing and (hygenic) mask-wearing, but both have added seasonal additions to their repertoire. Ask Alexa to sing a spooky song, and you’ll hear a fast-paced song about things that go bump in the night, or can rap about assisting monsters. A request for the Halloween song from Google Assistant has the AI launch into a musical story about the voice assistant aiding a ghost, werewolf, and vampire prepare to scare people. Meanwhile, Siri will beatbox the words trick and treat before offering to do her own “super rap.” The thematic diss track has lyrics bizarre enough to be worth sharing as a whole.
Siri carries that tone into its advice for what to wear on Halloween, suggesting you bang coconuts together to be a horse or that you go as a disembodied voice before remembering that’s her thing. The same goes for asking Siri what its Halloween costume will be with options like “the scary music from Friday the 13th and suggesting covering the iPhone with a handkerchief to be “your personal tiny ghost.” Google Assistant is much less snarky when asked about costume ideas, starting with a brief audio play about monsters trick or treating by video chat, then asking questions about random preferences before suggesting ideas like Abraham Lincoln, or “an ecosystem.”
For Alexa. Amazon added Halloween jokes and riddles, along with a “Ghost Detector” skill and a collection of scary stories. Users can even write their own scary tales with Alexa’s Halloween blueprint, customized with sound effects, names, and other details specifically for your chosen audience. The voice assistant’s Halloween features are also ideal for pulling pranks when combined with more mundane abilities like setting custom reminders.
“The best part of Halloween isn’t just the treats—it’s also the tricks. With the help of Alexa and an Amazon Device, you can play hilarious pranks on your entire household,” Amazon wrote in a blog post. “Secretly, set a reminder for when you know the entire family will be gathering in the kitchen or living room. Have the reminder say “don’t forget, there may be a ghost hiding in the house, use the ghost detector.” Not only is this a great prank, it’s also a fun opportunity to try out the Ghost Detector Skill—which helps you detect and capture ghosts.”
Haunted Smart Home
The voice assistants can also serve to make entire homes scarier for the holiday when connected to smart home devices. Google Assistant and Alexa both have scary sounds for the Nest and Ring smart doorbells, respectively. Google offers a choice of a black cat, a werewolf, or generally spooky sounds. Meanwhile, Amazon opted for eerie chime sound while also selling Halloween-themed coverings for the Ring Video Doorbell to add to the mood.
Inside the home, both Google Assistant and Alexa have new haunted house audio themes that play if you ask Google to haunt your house or ask Alexa to open the Spooky Sounds skill. Google will make any connected lights capable of doing so flash purple, orange, and green. Alexa makes you change the color manually, but you can set them to turn off at a pre-planned time or to change colors seemingly by the hand of a ghost if you set up a routine for that purpose. Still, nothing will chill the blood quite as much as Siri’s rap.