By: Nick Gambino
Smart speakers like the Amazon Echo and Google Home are finding more and more ways to integrate with your daily activities. A simple, “Alexa, set timer for 20 minutes” can be heard every day around dinnertime in my house.
These AI assistants and their speakers are not just for adults and their productivity. Kids are finding interesting ways to interact with the floating voices. For example, for those with a Google Home, parents or kids can say, “Hey Google, tell me a story” and the assistant would do so.
But if you don’t have a Google Home, and were using Google Assistant on a mobile device, she’d only come back with a simple line or two, instead of a full-blown story. Well, Google has just released support for the full version of “tell me a story” on Android and iOS, just in time for National Tell a Story Day on Saturday.
Now, if you say, “Hey Google, tell me a story,” your mobile assistant will launch Play Books and will select a full story to read your child. This story usually runs about 10 minutes. And while you might expect the voice to be robotic and much like the other replies you get, it’s not. Each story is read by a voice actor and includes engaging sound effects to bring the story to life.
You can go further with the command and say, “Hey Google, tell me a bedtime story” and it’ll read an appropriate night-time story aimed at settling in for a good night sleep.
“Whether you’re on the way to school drop-off or waiting for soccer practice to start, you can hear stories like ‘Let’s Be Firefighters!’ (Blaze and the Monster Machines), ‘Robot Rampage’ (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) and more,” the Google blog post said when announcing the new feature.
In order for you or your kid to use this feature, you’ll need Play Books downloaded on your smartphone or device. Once installed it’ll be able to select from a number of kid-friendly titles at random. The feature is currently only available in English in the U.S., U.K, Canada, Australia and India.