With the holiday season underway, Google is announcing a slew of new features for Assistant speakers and Smart Displays. This includes the Pretty Please feature for families announced at I/O 2018, Assistant notes and lists integration, Broadcast Replies, and visual lyrics for the Home Hub.

Pretty Please

Alongside the launch of Digital Wellbeing, Pretty Please furthers Google Home as a family friendly device. The feature is designed to encourage polite manners like “please” and “thank you” in commands. In turn, Assistant will answer back with “delightful responses,” including “Thanks for asking so nicely.”

It’s meant to address how kids might forget manners when interacting with face-less technology, with the fear that behavior will bleed into day-to-day human interactions. Pretty Please integrates with Voice Match on Smart Displays and speakers, with Google also showing the feature in action on phones.

Notes and lists integration

Also announced at I/O 2018, was notes and lists integration in Assistant. Google created a built-in provider, with third-party support from Google Keep, Any.do, Bring!, and Todoist coming soon. Voice commands include “add X to my gift list” and “create a gift list,” as well as “What’s on my to-do list?” and “Show me my last note.”

Smart Display updates

Last week, Google began rolling out several new features to the Home Hub and Lenovo Smart Display, including Touch Alarms in Quick Settings and quickly sharing pictures in Google Photos to contacts. The latter is achieved via a “Hey Google, share this photo” command.

There is also a new ability to hide photos from appearing on the Ambient Display, as well as favoriting images. Another new feature is Nest Hello integration to communicate with people at the door thanks to a new “Talk” button.

Smart Displays are also gaining visual lyrics in Play Music that display in sync with select songs. Users can find and have lyrics show on the screen by asking Assistant.

Lastly, Google Home’s popular “Call Santa” is being updated with music for kids this holiday season. On Smart Displays, there is also a visual component.

Broadcast Replies

Broadcast Replies announced earlier this month will begin rolling out next week. This allows for two-way communication between a Smart Display/speaker and phone/Home device. When received on a phone, users can reply by keyboard and see transcripts of the conversation. Meanwhile, Broadcasts on Smart Displays will feature a new “Reply” button.

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Abner Li

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