Google Assistant Upgrades Family Bell to Alert Mobile Devices
Google Assistant has extended the Family Bell proactive alarm feature that debuted last year to work on mobile devices as well as smart speakers and displays. The addition is part of a wider update and expansion of Family Bell and related communications tools as people shift back to in-person education and work.
Family Mobile Bell
Family Bell lets users create custom reminders that Google Assistant can announce by reading the text out loud. Google first pitched Family Bell specifically for parents whose kids were at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic school closures, giving the option to broadcast only to specific rooms and devices. It came with preset suggestions for those attending school remotely with announcements classes, breaks, and meals that came with relevant sound effects and visuals on smart displays. With the change in policies, the tech giant has adapted the voice assistant to fit the reopening of schools and businesses. Any smartphone with Google Assistant can now get custom alerts now, so a kid can be reminded of after-school activities and family events.
“I already use Family Bell on my smart speakers and smart displays to help us stay on top of our routines throughout the day, with bells that remind me when it’s time for family dinner or to water the plants. In several weeks, Family Bell will be available to ring on mobile devices, making it even easier to set up and use throughout your day,” Google Assistant senior director of product management Lilian Rincon wrote in a blog post about the new features. “For the first time in a long time, my kids won’t be home with me all day. I made sure my family group was set up so I could have peace of mind knowing where everyone is during the day.”
The other major addition to Google Assitant’s reminders is the new checklist system with customized alarms for the Nest Hub. Parents can set up reminders for kids when they get up in the morning to make sure they are ready to head out, or really for any chores or homework that would be useful to include. Adults can use it too, of course, as well as an upcoming option to make shutting off an alarm part of a Google Assistant Routine. The dismissal of an alarm in the morning, for instance, would be the cue for Google Assistant to share the weather report, turn on lights, and carry out other tasks in a routine that usually requires its own vocal command. The child (or adult) can then start their checklist and tap the screen of the Nest Hub when they’ve completed a task to receive congratulatory animation and sound effects.
“I’ve been testing this feature and it’s been a great way to remind my kids what they need to do before heading out the door for school in a fun way— things like making their beds, getting dressed and brushing their teeth. When a task is completed, my kids enjoy the fun, on-screen celebratory animations and sounds that appear,” Rincon wrote.”Hopefully this school year goes smoother than the last, but it’s a tough transition every year. These new tools can help make the switch to the school year an easy one for the whole family.”