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Google Assistant gets Family Bell reminders, select room broadcasts, and more

With the pandemic leading to many schools moving to remote learning, Google is adding a bunch of new features to the Assistant that are aimed at helping parents with scheduling learning sessions better. The additions include a new Family Bell feature, the ability to broadcast to specific rooms using Assistant-enabled speakers, and more.

The Family Bell feature lets users schedule a school bell-like time-specific reminder for various activities, such as for when it is time for an online class, a break, or any other activity. The feature can be enabled through the Home app, or by commanding the assistant to create a family bell verbally. Different bells can be scheduled to ring on different devices at the same time. Users can set up activities on their Android and iOS phones via assistant settings. The feature is rolling out in English for users in the U.S., Canada, U.K., Australia, and India.

Smart display can also show school-themed visuals and play sounds like kids ruffling through their lockers for commands such as “Hey Google, start the school day!” or “Hey Google, school's in session!”. These commands can also be set to change the colors on smart lights. These features are now available on Assistant-enabled smart speakers for all users.

Another welcome feature is the ability to broadcast to specific rooms. Users can now broadcast to just the desired rooms where devices are present - such as the childrens' bedrooms - instead of having to broadcast to all rooms at once. This feature is rolling out to all users with Google Assistant-enabled speakers or displays.

Lastly, smart speakers and displays running the search giant's digital assistant can serve daily facts and helpful videos for kids through YouTube Kids. Parents can also personalize the experience for their kids when kids log in to their own accounts, where applicable, using Family Link.

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