Author Archives: Lilian Rincon

Plan a perfect weekend with new Google Assistant features

Moms everywhere can likely agree that this year (and then some) has had us working overtime. As a mom of two who's working at home, I know that's how I've felt. Maybe that's why I'm extra excited for Mother's Day this year. And just in time, there are a few new Google Assistant features my family and I will be using to schedule the perfect weekend. 


First, I’ll Broadcast from my morning run

We’re extending one of our most popular Assistant features, Broadcast, so you can reach your family wherever they are, and they can respond from any device including from their phones. With Family Broadcast, when I get home from my Saturday morning run, I can broadcast to my newly created Google Family Group, “Hey Google, tell my family, how about lunch at noon?” across all our smart speakers and displays. The message will even reach my husband on his iPhone (or Android device) while he’s on the way home, letting him reply by voice or by tapping the "reply" button, “Hey Google, reply sounds good, stopping by grandma's house. See you in 15 minutes.” 


Family Broadcast from mobile

Then I’ll set a Family Bell reminder for some afternoon gardening

Two new Family Bell reminders I plan to set this weekend will remind me to water the plants (which I love, but often forget to do) as well as alert my kids to tidy up the house. It’s becoming a very popular feature. Since last summer, more than 20 million Family Bells have been rung to help families stay organized - that’s nearly 19 years worth of bells! As a quick hint, you’ll soon be able to just say “stop” to end the bell, starting in English. No need to use “Hey Google” again, just like with alarm and timers.

Over the coming weeks, we’ll be expanding Family Bell to eight new languages, including Dutch, French, German, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, and Spanish. Another highly requested feature we’re rolling out today is the ability to have Family Bells ring across multiple home devices at one time (not just one smart speaker or display). 


Followed by winding down with new stories with the kids

Assistant is getting new stories and games that you can access from a smart display or Android device — this weekend, we plan to learn more about Quidditch from the Harry Potter stories with a simple “Hey Google, tell me a Quidditch Story.” We’ll be partnering with Pottermore Publishing to bring more stories later in the year, so stay tuned for more Wizarding WorldTM news.

We’re also bringing the “Who Was?” series from Penguin Random House to your smart display. Just say “Hey Google, talk to Who Was Heroes’” and listen to stories about Ida B. Wells, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and over 100 others. To get a full list of all the stories that are available, simply say “Hey Google, tell me a story.” (With a parent's permission, children under 13, or the applicable age in their country, can have a personalized Google Assistant experience and access these games designed for kids and families, powered by Family Link.)

Who was?

And have some fun with new games

My husband and I love trivia, and will play the popular game show “Hey Google, talk to ‘Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader?’” on our Nest Hub. 


Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader

Plus, a surprise or two 

We had to add a few easter eggs too. Try using a timer on Mother’s Day and see what happens!  

Since the handwashing song was so popular, we created new ones to help kids stay on task and do their chores. Try “Hey Google, Sing the clean up song,” “Hey Google, Sing the go to sleep song” or “Hey Google, Sing the brush your teeth song.”

Sing a clean up song

Hopefully this schedule gives you a little Mother’s Day inspiration — or even just a stress-free weekend. 


5 new ways Google Assistant can make the day a little easier

Spring is here, and with it, a helping hand from Google Assistant. Today we're introducing five new features that help you tackle small things around the house (and from the car).  

1) Can’t remember where you put down your phone?Don’t sweat it. Already one of the most popular features for Google Assistant, you can tell your Nest smart speaker or smart display, “Hey Google, find my phone,” for all devices, now including iPhones. For iPhones, once you opt in to receiving notifications and critical alerts from the Google Home app, you’ll get a notification and hear a custom ringing sound (even when the phone is on silent or if Do Not Disturb is enabled).

2) Get your takeout faster.Over the last year, more and more people started ordering takeout and delivery on Google, and more restaurants added the “order” button to their Business Profiles on Search and Maps. To make online food orders even easier, Assistant can now help you complete your purchase in only a few steps powered by Duplex on the web. To get started, you’ll need to first search for a restaurant near you from the Google App on Android and select “Order Online” or “Order Pickup.”  When you finish your online takeout order from a restaurant we partner with and click “check out,” Assistant will automatically navigate the site and fill out your contact and payment details saved in Google Pay and synced to Chrome Autofill. At launch, we’re partnering with select restaurant chains and will be adding more across the U.S. later this year.  

3) Try a new sunrise or sunset Routine for your smart home devices.Now available globally, these Routines are based on your  location. For example, you can automatically have your living room lights turn on and the sprinklers start when the sun goes down. It’s easy to set up: 

  • Select the “New” routine tab in the Google Home app or Assistant settings. 
  • Under “how to start,” you’ll need to “add starter,” then you’ll see an option for “Sunrise/sunset.”
  • From there, you can customize the time and specific actions you want them to trigger. 

4) Need routine ideas?Assistant Routines make it easy to automatically perform multiple actions at once with a single command. We’ve included a dedicated section in Ready-Made Routines to highlight popular “suggested actions” to  inspire you, such as “Tell me if my battery is low” or “Tell me what happened today in history.” You can also add a “shortcut” icon to your Android home screen for your favorite Routines. Head to the overview screen for Routines in the Google Home app or Assistant Settings and click the “Add to Home Screen” icon in the top app bar.

5) Have questions about the Oscars?You can get the inside scoop from your Google Assistant. Just ask: “Hey Google, when are the Oscars?” or “Hey Google, who’s nominated for Animated Feature Film at the Oscars?” to hear the list of nominees. To hear some predictions ahead of the red carpet, try “Hey Google, what are your Oscar predictions? or “Hey Google, who do you think is best dressed at the Oscars?” You can also join in on the award night fun by saying, “Hey Google, give me an award.”

Here’s how Google Assistant lent a helping hand in 2020

As we look at how people used Google Assistant this year,
We hope these reflections may bring you some cheer.
From staying in touch to cooking a meal, 
It’s clear we find many of the same things ideal.

In 2020, it felt like many of us needed a little more assistance than usual. With more time spent at home, the ways people used Google Assistant evolved to accommodate new habits and routines—and to help with this, we focused on launching new features, adding new services like Disney+, Netflix, Duo, Meet and Zoom, and creating new tools for developers. As we close out the year, we’re taking a look at the most popular ways that people used Assistant, as well as some more recent trends. 


Lending a hand to families

This year, we launched Family Notes to keep the whole house up to date and running smoothly. We also introduced Family Bell, which launched just in time for the (mostly virtual) school year and was quickly adopted to help families stay on track throughout the day. Here are the top five bells set this school year:

  1. Time for bed

  2. Time for breakfast

  3. Lunch time

  4. Dinner time

  5. Class is starting

If you're enjoying time off from work or school, today we launched the ability to pause your bells until you resume your normal routine. Simply tap the “Pause bells” banner on the Family Bell settings page. Your bells will automatically resume once the pause period is over.

And the amount of requests made to Assistant for help with spelling, using the dictionary and translations more than doubled this year. The top translation request this year was for "I love you”—and the top word that people needed help spelling? “Quarantine.” 

(As a reminder, with their parent's permission, children under 13—or the applicable age in their country—can have a personalized Google Assistant experience when they log in with their own account, powered by Family Link.)


Finding ways to keep in touch

The number of text messages sent with Assistant more than doubled in 2020; currently, “Mom” is the most-called person with Assistant. Many of us also turned to group video calls through Zoom, Google Meet and Duo to host virtual celebrations, attend workout classes and to simply catch up with loved ones.


Spending more time in the kitchen 

Recipes searched with Assistant grew over eight times this past year, and thanks to quarantine’s baking trends, banana bread is still the most requested recipe on Assistant. And because baking calls for perfect timing, more timers were set in 2020 than ever before.


Staying informed and entertained 

Streaming entertainment helped us enjoy newfound time at home, and Assistant brought us even more movies and TV shows from Disney+ andNetflix on Nest Hub devices. We told stories, too: This year, the number of stories told by Assistant increased over three times. Try it out yourself by saying, “Hey Google, tell me a story.” 

In recent trends, the top music genre is currently holiday music, followed by country, relaxing music, rock and pop. And while many of us commuted more frequently between the couch and kitchen than to and from an office, we still turned to podcasts to stay entertained and up-to-date. The most-listened to podcasts on Assistant currently are: 

  • The Daily

  • NPR

  • Savage Love

  • Joe Rogan

  • Ben Shapiro

  • Two Princes

  • This American Life


Controlling homes and devices

Assistant was even busier controlling smart home devices this year. The most popular ask was to turn the lights on or off, and many of us also asked Assistant to adjust the fan, change the temperature on the thermostat, control the TV or launch a game on Xbox.

Today, we rolled out Scheduled Actions so people can “set it and forget it.” Try asking Google to turn off the lights in 10 minutes, or at 11:25 pm on the dot; or say “Hey Google, run the fan for 20 minutes” eliminating the need to remember to turn it off later. 

We also made it easier to quickly set up many smart devices, including lights and plugs—from Philips Hue, C by GE, Yeelight, Nanoleaf, Ledvance, ABL Lighting and Energetic by Yankon—right out of the box. Supported by Seamless Setup, you can now connect your new devices to Google Assistant right from the Google Home app in just a few steps. There’s no need to download another app or install anything else. 

2020’s been a busy year for Assistant, but we wouldn’t have it any other way.


Here’s how Google Assistant lent a helping hand in 2020

As we look at how people used Google Assistant this year,
We hope these reflections may bring you some cheer.
From staying in touch to cooking a meal, 
It’s clear we find many of the same things ideal.

In 2020, it felt like many of us needed a little more assistance than usual. With more time spent at home, the ways people used Google Assistant evolved to accommodate new habits and routines—and to help with this, we focused on launching new features, adding new services like Disney+, Netflix, Duo, Meet and Zoom, and creating new tools for developers. As we close out the year, we’re taking a look at the most popular ways that people used Assistant, as well as some more recent trends. 


Lending a hand to families

This year, we launched Family Notes to keep the whole house up to date and running smoothly. We also introduced Family Bell, which launched just in time for the (mostly virtual) school year and was quickly adopted to help families stay on track throughout the day. Here are the top five bells set this school year:

  1. Time for bed

  2. Time for breakfast

  3. Lunch time

  4. Dinner time

  5. Class is starting

If you're enjoying time off from work or school, today we launched the ability to pause your bells until you resume your normal routine. Simply tap the “Pause bells” banner on the Family Bell settings page. Your bells will automatically resume once the pause period is over.

And the amount of requests made to Assistant for help with spelling, using the dictionary and translations more than doubled this year. The top translation request this year was for "I love you”—and the top word that people needed help spelling? “Quarantine.” 

(As a reminder, with their parent's permission, children under 13—or the applicable age in their country—can have a personalized Google Assistant experience when they log in with their own account, powered by Family Link.)


Finding ways to keep in touch

The number of text messages sent with Assistant more than doubled in 2020; currently, “Mom” is the most-called person with Assistant. Many of us also turned to group video calls through Zoom, Google Meet and Duo to host virtual celebrations, attend workout classes and to simply catch up with loved ones.


Spending more time in the kitchen 

Recipes searched with Assistant grew over eight times this past year, and thanks to quarantine’s baking trends, banana bread is still the most requested recipe on Assistant. And because baking calls for perfect timing, more timers were set in 2020 than ever before.


Staying informed and entertained 

Streaming entertainment helped us enjoy newfound time at home, and Assistant brought us even more movies and TV shows from Disney+ andNetflix on Nest Hub devices. We told stories, too: This year, the number of stories told by Assistant increased over three times. Try it out yourself by saying, “Hey Google, tell me a story.” 

In recent trends, the top music genre is currently holiday music, followed by country, relaxing music, rock and pop. And while many of us commuted more frequently between the couch and kitchen than to and from an office, we still turned to podcasts to stay entertained and up-to-date. The most-listened to podcasts on Assistant currently are: 

  • The Daily

  • NPR

  • Savage Love

  • Joe Rogan

  • Ben Shapiro

  • Two Princes

  • This American Life


Controlling homes and devices

Assistant was even busier controlling smart home devices this year. The most popular ask was to turn the lights on or off, and many of us also asked Assistant to adjust the fan, change the temperature on the thermostat, control the TV or launch a game on Xbox.

Today, we rolled out Scheduled Actions so people can “set it and forget it.” Try asking Google to turn off the lights in 10 minutes, or at 11:25 pm on the dot; or say “Hey Google, run the fan for 20 minutes” eliminating the need to remember to turn it off later. 

We also made it easier to quickly set up many smart devices, including lights and plugs—from Philips Hue, C by GE, Yeelight, Nanoleaf, Ledvance, ABL Lighting and Energetic by Yankon—right out of the box. Supported by Seamless Setup, you can now connect your new devices to Google Assistant right from the Google Home app in just a few steps. There’s no need to download another app or install anything else. 

2020’s been a busy year for Assistant, but we wouldn’t have it any other way.


A new way to video call with Google

Like many people, I went through my fair share of "quarantine trends." I baked all kinds of bread and organized a closet or two. Plenty of activities momentarily kept my interest over the last five months, but one thing that isn't going anywhere? Video calling. While I miss visiting in person, for me, the next best thing has been video calls. Nest Hub Max and Google Assistant already offer a host of ways to stay connected with Duo and Google Meet. And soon you’ll have one more option to use the video calling service of your choice: Zoom is coming to Assistant-enabled Smart Displays, including Nest Hub Max, by the end of the year.

We want everyone to be able to keep in touch while staying safe, and that's why we want you to be able to use the video calling option of your choice. Here's a quick run-down of some of the various ways you can use your Nest Hub Max and Google Assistant to stay in touch: 


Gather for group calls

It’s easy to start or join a group video call on your Nest Hub Max. You can say “Hey Google, start a meeting” to connect with up to 100 people with Google Meet, and soon, anyone with a Zoom account—whether it’s free or paid—will also be able to join a video call from their Hub Max or other Assistant-enabled Smart Display. With Meet or Zoom, you can easily move from one call to the next. To join your next meeting, say "Hey Google, join my next meeting" to easily connect to the next call on your personal Google Calendar. 

You can easily invite others to join your Meet group video call from your phone with the Assistant app for Android or iOS. Beta support for G Suite accounts is also available to sign up for at g.co/gsuiteassistantbeta

With Duo, simply create groups in the Duo mobile app and then ask your Hub Max, “Hey Google, make a group call,” and tap on the Duo group you want to connect with. Don’t have time for a call? Duo lets you leave video messages from your Hub Max: Just say “Hey Google, leave a video message for Linda,” or send a video message from your phone for someone to see when they walk up to the Hub Max.


Put your VIPs on “speed dial”

Whether it’s the people you call every day, or the contacts that you want handy at any time (like your dog walker or babysitter), household contacts are the new “speed dial.” Once set up, anyone in your household can say "Hey Google, call Alex” or tap on Alex’s name on your Nest Hub Max’s household contacts list.


Communicate around the house with ease

You’ve always been able to broadcast a message across the entire house, but now ringing the dinner bell is even easier with broadcasting to a room or specific device. Say “Hey Google, broadcast to the study room, ‘Dinner is ready!’” Or if you’re headed home with tonight’s takeout, you can let your family know you’re almost there by asking your Assistant-enabled phone, “Hey Google, broadcast ‘I’m pulling into the driveway soon.'"

Whether it’s for work or play, we’re here for your communication needs. And now you have even more options to stay in touch with Google. 

Get ready for the school year with Google

I've always loved the start of a new school year. There's something magical about watching my kids reach new milestones, tackle new assignments and surprise me with their newfound interests and passions. While heading back to school won’t be the same this year, Google is helping families like mine stay on track with new features like Family Bell, communicate better with targeted broadcast messages and make learning from home a little more fun.


Virtual class - Family Bells, Google Assistant

Keep your family on track and organized

These days, my family can use extra help keeping on top of our schedules. With a new feature called Family Bell, we can add bell reminders throughout the day that announce when it's time to start an online class, take a break, settle in for reading time, have a snack or even for bedtime. To get started, simply say “Hey Google, create a Family Bell” or tap on Family Bell in your Assistant settings. It includes suggested bells for activities like recess, nap time or math time, or you can customize bells to alert someone in your household of an upcoming activity. One of my bells helps keep my son on track by saying, “Hi superhero, it’s time for math!”  You can even have different bells go off at the same time on different devices—super helpful when both of my kids have various activities going on. You can create and manage bells on Assistant-enabled Android and iOS phones to play on smart speakers or Smart Displays in your home. This feature is starting to roll out today in English in the U.S., Canada, U.K., Australia and India.

And surely, most parents can relate when I say that sometimes my kids need that little nudge to get excited about the day—whether that means heading to school or starting a day of virtual learning. I can say, “Hey Google, start the school day!” or “Hey Google, school’s in session!” and Smart Displays like Nest Hub Max will show a school-themed visual and play the familiar sounds of school—like kids ruffling through their lockers. And since we have smart lights set up in our living room, this will also trigger the lights to flash upbeat red, orange and yellow colors—which my kids love. This feature also works on Assistant-enabled smart speakers and is now available around the globe.

Bells

A popular feature on Google Assistant is the ability to broadcast and reply to messages around the house, and starting to roll out today, you can broadcast to a specific room or device—making it even easier to communicate at home (no shouting needed). So when I’m working in my bedroom office, my husband can broadcast a message to me by saying, “Hey Google, broadcast to the bedroom, ‘breakfast is ready!’” This feature is rolling out in English on Assistant-enabled smart speakers and Smart Displays around the world.

And to remind learners when to start homework, try setting a fun alarm with some of their favorite characters. Just ask your Assistant-enabled smart speaker or Smart Display, “Hey Google, set a Hatchimals alarm for 4:00 p.m.” and you’ll hear signature music, jokes, facts, words of encouragement and other fun messages when it goes off. 


Make learning from home fun

I appreciate getting to spend extra time with my kids, and now Google helps me make the most of it by teaching my daughter (and often me) some new facts. On Assistant-enabled smart speakers and Smart Displays in the U.S., say, “Hey Google, tell me about the animal of the day” and hear fun facts about a new animal every day, listen to the sound each animal makes and even receive a creative daily challenge, like drawing what the animal looks like.

From homework help to how-to’s, on YouTube Kids you’ll find videos that give kids a greater understanding of the world around them. To get started, make sure you’ve linked your YouTube Kids account in your Google Home app. Try watching a video on your Smart Display by saying,“Hey Google, watch Brave Wilderness on YouTube Kids.” 

To get some help together, parents and older learners can also ask, “Hey Google, help me with my homework" for suggestions to learn about historical events, the periodic table or for help with calculations. Google can also help with spelling (“Hey Google, how do you spell rhythm?”) or math (“Hey Google, what's 3 x 7 + 80?”). Google Assistant can even act as a translator and interpreter for language learning—try asking, “Hey Google, how do you say butter in Spanish?” 

With their parent's permission, children under 13 (or the applicable age in their country) can have their own personalized Google Assistant experience when they log in with their own account, powered by Family Link.


Spend quality time together as a family

Game nights have surged in popularity at our house. My kids like to ask, “Hey Google, play a kids game” to discover new games.

And when it’s time to wind down for the day, say, “Hey Google, tell me a story,” or if your family loves fairy tales like mine, try “Hey Google, tell me a fairy tale” and listen along. We also enjoy listening to classics from Storynory, like “Beauty and the Beast,” “Cinderella,” “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” and more. 

The balancing act of working, parenting and schooling at home continues, and as it does, we hope these new tools will help  keep your family on track in your new routine.


“Hey Google, make a group call” now on Nest Hub Max

One of the most popular ways people use Nest Hub Max is for video calling. Up until now, that meant one-on-one sessions with friends and family. Rolling out today in the U.S., you can make group video calls with Duo and Google Meet on your Hub Max. With just a simple voice command, Google Assistant can now help connect you with multiple people at once.

“Hey Google, make a group call”

With group video calling on Nest Hub Max, you can now bring the whole family together, spontaneously check in with your siblings or host a weekly happy hour with friends for up to 32 people. To get started, you can create groups in the Duo mobile app, and from there just ask your Hub Max, “Hey Google, make a group call,” and tap on the Duo group you want to connect with. And with auto-framing, you can freely move around your kitchen or living room during your Duo video call, while staying in view. In addition to Nest Hub Max, Duo group video calling is available on LG XBOOM AI ThinQ WK9 Smart DisplayJBL Link View and Lenovo’s 8 inch and 10 inch Smart Displays

“Hey Google, join my next meeting”

You can also try, “Hey Google, start a meeting” to connect with up to 100 people on Google Meet for fitness classes, book clubs, community gatherings or whatever else you’ve got planned. If you want to call into a meeting, say "Hey Google, join a meeting" then tap the "enter a meeting code" option and type it in to join. Or try asking, “Hey Google, join my next meeting” to instantly connect to the next call on your personal Google Calendar. Meet group video calling is launching first on Nest Hub Max.

We’re also rolling out beta support for G Suite accounts, so you can host work meetings on your personal Nest Hub Max. G Suite admins who would like to apply on behalf of their domains to join the beta program can sign up at g.co/gsuiteassistantbeta

And if you’re looking to put your personal VIPs on “speed dial,” household contacts are starting to roll out today on Google Assistant-enabled smart speakers and Smart Displays in the U.S. Once set up, you (or other people in your household) can dial your cousin Cassandra by saying "Hey Google, call Cassandra” or by tapping on Cassandra’s name on your Smart Display's household contacts list.

Google Assistant and Nest have always made it easy to connect with friends and family⁠—and now, the more the merrier. 

“Hey Google, make a group call” now on Nest Hub Max

One of the most popular ways people use Nest Hub Max is for video calling. Up until now, that meant one-on-one sessions with friends and family. Rolling out today in the U.S., you can make group video calls with Duo and Google Meet on your Hub Max. With just a simple voice command, Google Assistant can now help connect you with multiple people at once.

“Hey Google, make a group call”

With group video calling on Nest Hub Max, you can now bring the whole family together, spontaneously check in with your siblings or host a weekly happy hour with friends for up to 32 people. To get started, you can create groups in the Duo mobile app, and from there just ask your Hub Max, “Hey Google, make a group call,” and tap on the Duo group you want to connect with. And with auto-framing, you can freely move around your kitchen or living room during your Duo video call, while staying in view. In addition to Nest Hub Max, Duo group video calling is available on LG XBOOM AI ThinQ WK9 Smart DisplayJBL Link View and Lenovo’s 8 inch and 10 inch Smart Displays

“Hey Google, join my next meeting”

You can also try, “Hey Google, start a meeting” to connect with up to 100 people on Google Meet for fitness classes, book clubs, community gatherings or whatever else you’ve got planned. If you want to call into a meeting, say "Hey Google, join a meeting" then tap the "enter a meeting code" option and type it in to join. Or try asking, “Hey Google, join my next meeting” to instantly connect to the next call on your personal Google Calendar. Meet group video calling is launching first on Nest Hub Max.

We’re also rolling out beta support for G Suite accounts, so you can host work meetings on your personal Nest Hub Max. G Suite admins who would like to apply on behalf of their domains to join the beta program can sign up at g.co/gsuiteassistantbeta

And if you’re looking to put your personal VIPs on “speed dial,” household contacts are starting to roll out today on Google Assistant-enabled smart speakers and Smart Displays in the U.S. Once set up, you (or other people in your household) can dial your cousin Cassandra by saying "Hey Google, call Cassandra” or by tapping on Cassandra’s name on your Smart Display's household contacts list.

Google Assistant and Nest have always made it easy to connect with friends and family⁠—and now, the more the merrier. 

“Hey Google, make a group call” now on Nest Hub Max

One of the most popular ways people use Nest Hub Max is for video calling. Up until now, that meant one-on-one sessions with friends and family. Rolling out today in the U.S., you can make group video calls with Duo and Google Meet on your Hub Max. With just a simple voice command, Google Assistant can now help connect you with multiple people at once.

“Hey Google, make a group call”

With group video calling on Nest Hub Max, you can now bring the whole family together, spontaneously check in with your siblings or host a weekly happy hour with friends for up to 32 people. To get started, you can create groups in the Duo mobile app, and from there just ask your Hub Max, “Hey Google, make a group call,” and tap on the Duo group you want to connect with. And with auto-framing, you can freely move around your kitchen or living room during your Duo video call, while staying in view. In addition to Nest Hub Max, Duo group video calling is available on LG XBOOM AI ThinQ WK9 Smart DisplayJBL Link View and Lenovo’s 8 inch and 10 inch Smart Displays

“Hey Google, join my next meeting”

You can also try, “Hey Google, start a meeting” to connect with up to 100 people on Google Meet for fitness classes, book clubs, community gatherings or whatever else you’ve got planned. If you want to call into a meeting, say "Hey Google, join a meeting" then tap the "enter a meeting code" option and type it in to join. Or try asking, “Hey Google, join my next meeting” to instantly connect to the next call on your personal Google Calendar. Meet group video calling is launching first on Nest Hub Max.

We’re also rolling out beta support for G Suite accounts, so you can host work meetings on your personal Nest Hub Max. G Suite admins who would like to apply on behalf of their domains to join the beta program can sign up at g.co/gsuiteassistantbeta

And if you’re looking to put your personal VIPs on “speed dial,” household contacts are starting to roll out today on Google Assistant-enabled smart speakers and Smart Displays in the U.S. Once set up, you (or other people in your household) can dial your cousin Cassandra by saying "Hey Google, call Cassandra” or by tapping on Cassandra’s name on your Smart Display's household contacts list.

Google Assistant and Nest have always made it easy to connect with friends and family⁠—and now, the more the merrier. 

A little help getting through the day

Like many families, my husband and I have been staying-at-home for over a month, while looking after our two young kids who are out of school. Balancing two full-time jobs—running the team that builds features for Google Assistant and homeschooling my 6- and 3-year-old children—is an unexpected challenge that I know I’m not alone in navigating. In fact, search interest for “how to work from home with kids” tripled over the past month in the U.S., while search interest in “how to keep kids busy during quarantine” spiked more than 350 percent in the past day, worldwide. 

My husband and I are figuring out a schedule that minimizes the chaos, enabling us to work while also cherishing time with our kids. Here are some of the things we’ve learned and how Google Assistant is helping us get through the day.

Morning 

With the four of us sharing the same space all day every day, It can be especially important to carve out “me time.” Most mornings before my kids get up, I ask my Nest Hub Max, “Hey Google, show me workout videos” and I exercise along to a YouTube tutorial (here’s one I love). This solo time energizes me and sets the right tone so I can tackle the day.


I’m also restructuring my day to meet the needs of both work and family. While it might not be the case for everyone, I’m fortunate to have some flexibility in my work schedule. So instead of working a typical 9 to 5, I’ve established shifts with my husband so one of us gets uninterrupted time to focus on work, while the other helps our kids. I take the afternoon shift with my kids, so I schedule all of my work meetings in the morning. I typically hop back online after the kids are in bed so I can follow up on any urgent items and give my team guidance for the following day.


I also use ready-made Routines to trigger several actions with one single command. They’re super easy to set up and they’re the ultimate multitasking partner. For example, when I say “Hey Google, good morning,” Google Assistant turns on my kitchen lights, starts the coffee maker, reads out my calendar and plays the news. And when I want a quick update on specific topics, I ask things like, “Hey Google, what’s the latest news on coronavirus?” so I’m informed before the kids are up.


And with the lines between work and home completely blurred, I’ve realized I need to be much more intentional about my time. I ask Assistant to set reminders so I can keep track of upcoming online classes for my kids or remind my husband about our schedule. 


I also make sure my kids’ homeschooling classes and activities are added as calendar appointments, so I have a clear overview of what's going on for the family that day.


Afternoon 

When I’m with the kids in the afternoon, I make sure to over-communicate with my colleagues about my whereabouts. For example, I block off my calendar in the afternoon and even put an “out of office” message in my email to set expectations about my availability. 


My daughter is starting to read, so one of her daily lessons is going over the alphabet. I ask Google Assistant to sing the ABCs on our Nest Mini when we review her alphabet book, so she starts understanding each letter.


As part of my son’s school assignments, he writes at least one or two pages a day. We've gotten into the habit of writing out jokes which we print and tape on our sidewalk so our neighbors can enjoy. Since he’s still learning how to spell, he’ll often ask Google Assistant for help spelling difficult words.


And is it just me, or are kids hungry all day long? To manage my (seemingly endless) grocery list, I ask my phone, “Hey Google, add pasta and cream to my shopping list.” And when I’m at the grocery store, I can quickly pull up my list without touching my phone by asking, “Hey Google, what’s on my shopping list?”


Evening 

To create some separation between the workday and family time, we started a new evening ritual: dance parties. I scheduled a Custom Routine that automatically dims our living room lights and turns on a party playlist at 5:30pm each day. This also helps my kids shake out some energy, so it’s a win-win.


A few times a week before dinner, we video call the kids’ grandmas using Google Duo on our Nest Hub Max. If they don’t happen to be by their own Smart Displays to answer the call, they can easily pick up on their phones. Their grandmas live in Washington and Canada, so it’s special to connect with them regularly since we can’t see each other in person.


Around dinnertime, I try to get inventive with what I have so I can minimize grocery store trips. One of my favorite Google Assistant features is getting recipe inspiration based on what’s left in my fridge or pantry. Try asking, "Hey Google, what can I make with broccoli and cheese”—or whatever ingredients you need to use up!


Once dinner is ready, I simply say, “Hey Google, broadcast it’s dinner time” and my message is sent to all Assistant enabled speakers around our home, no need to shout.


And when it’s time to wind down for the night, we ask Assistant to tell us a story or play soothing sounds. Try it out by saying, “Hey Google, read me a bedtime story” or “Hey Google, play ocean sounds.” 


Whether you need help making mundane tasks more magical (“Hey Google, help me wash my hands”) or need assistance getting a meal on the table, I hope what I’ve learned in my own home can help make your day just a bit easier.