Every year Google holds a conference for developers called Google I/O. During the conference Google announcements are plentiful, and they typically announce new features coming to their products and new products altogether. This year has been no different as they had several announcements during their keynotes throughout the day today. I’ll spare you the full list of announcements and just get to the ones I think will be beneficial to families.
Don’t Forget to Say Please!
Google Assistant is going to have a new mode that requires the user to say please when asking for things. The Pretty Please feature will encourage children (and maybe even some adults) to use polite conversation and reinforce good behavior when requesting a story or game to play. Google has partnered with Disney and other content creators providing free family-friendly games, activities, and stories. My son’s favorite is asking Google to play Mickey Mouse Adventure.
Speaking of Pretty Please (as in pretty please can I have one)… new Smart Displays!
The Smart Displays that were announced at CES 2018 are finally coming to market in July! I’m especially excited for the Lenovo Smart Display. It appears like a lot of thought went into the aesthetics of the device, and it looks amazing. I can not wait to get my hands on it. According to Google, you can follow along with a recipe, control your smart home, watch live TV on YouTube TV, and make video calls with Google Duo. The Smart Displays will come integrated with all your favorite Google services like Calendar, Maps, and YouTube.
New Google Assistant Voices
Available now, Google has added six new voices to the Google Assistant. Although currently not available, John Legend will lend his melodic tones to the Assistant later this year. I imagine this will pave the way for additional celebrities to follow suit.
No More Repetitive “OK Google”
The Google Assistant can FINALLY understand continued conversations. Instead of saying “OK Google, where is the nearest donut shop?” and then saying “OK Google, navigate to that donut shop” you will be able to continue the conversation and ask Google to navigate there. The Assistant will be able to understand when you’re talking to it versus someone else and will respond accordingly. Continued Conversation will be launched within the next several weeks.
Google Lens Helps You Identify the World Around You
In, I totally thought of it first news, Google Lens will have a new feature that will help kids (or even parents) identify the world around them. I always thought it would be great to include as a Field Journal type app, but this works too. When you are out on a walk with your kids, you can point the camera to a plant or animal, and Google Lens will help you identify the item. You won’t have to open a separate app to see it either, it will be a natural part of the regular Android Camera app.
Managing Your Digital Wellbeing
Technology addiction is a very real thing. There are a few apps that have been released to help you try to combat this like Thrive and Space. Google is now trying to help you manage your digital life as well with new Digital Wellbeing features.
Some of the features that will be added to the Android operating system include:
- reporting on app usage
- reminders to exit apps or put your phone down
- automatic grayscale during certain times to help you wind down
- Android Auto to help manage distractions while driving
- Family Link settings to manage children’s devices
- turn on do not disturb by placing your phone screen side down
- and so much more!
If you want to check out more of what Google has announced today their website has a ton more info!
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Sarah Kimmel has spent the last 16 years of her career as an IT Manager supporting over 100 small businesses. During that time she started Family Tech to help families understand and manage the technology in their home. She has regularly appeared as a tech expert on KSL News, BYUtv and Studio 5, and has been invited all over the world from tech companies like Lenovo, Verizon, Microsoft, Dell, and Samsung. Find out more on her website SarahKimmel.com