Technology

Google is trying to make Assistant more useful for your family this Mother’s Day

Google is announcing some improved Assistant features for families, including improved broadcasts, new bells, and some new stories that can be read to kids. Google says it’s rolling out the features for Mother’s Day, but a few of them could be useful for everyone, not just moms.

The first is an expansion of its Broadcast feature, which lets you send messages to Assistant devices in your house. Using Family Broadcast, messages will now show up on your Family Group’s phones as well, which your family members can reply to. For instance, if you wanted to tell everyone to be quiet when they come home because you’re taking a nap, they’ll now be able to get that message outside of the house.

Google is also adding new reminders to its Family Bell feature, which lets you set up recurring reminders for your family. Google now lets you automatically remind your family that someone needs to water the plants or remind your kids (or spouse) to clean up the house, just in time for spring cleaning.

Assistant is also getting a few more entertainment features, from Harry Potter stories that will start appearing this weekend, stories about real-life heroes like Jane Goodall or Ruth Bader Ginsburg for smart displays, and an Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader? game for the Nest Hub.

Google also hints that there’s an Easter egg or two included in the rollout: it hints that you should try setting a timer on Mother’s Day. (I can’t imagine what the surprise will be, but my interest is piqued.)