Google has long positioned smart speakers as something for the entire family given its ease of use. You can already listen to picture books, but “My Storytime” makes the experience more personal by letting parents pre-record stories that children can easily play through Google Assistant.

This new Assistant capability was inspired by military families that have a parent deployed overseas. My Storytime lets them record or upload existing audio files online and have them immediately accessible on Smart Displays and speakers.

All a child needs to say is “Hey Google, talk to My Storytime.” Recordings can be shared with approved members and friends, with a collaboration aspect available. On the privacy front:

All your recordings are saved securely on the cloud. Only you and those you share them with will be able to access them.

The Oliver family in particular played a key role in this feature’s development. Instead of having to manually manage audio files in Google Drive and have another parent initiate audio playback, Google created a solution that scales up and is easy to use.

But when my husband deploys, everything changes. And getting recordings of stories from Dad halfway around the world is technically tricky. Listening to him read “The Wind in the Willows” involved downloading each file from Drive and casting it to a Nest Mini. We knew there had to be a better way.

We even asked folks on message boards for help, which is how my daughters and I ended up traveling to Portland to meet with engineers and designers from Instrument and Google Nest.

Google is also positioning it to those that work night shifts or travel often. Setting it up requires a Google Account, specifically, the same one used by the Google Nest device. Google Assistant My Storytime is available today.

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