Google is adding new features to Assistant that aim to make the virtual aid significantly more kid-friendly than before.
For starters, Google is handing more control to parents. Until now, parental controls for Google Assistant interacting with kids were non-existent. Now, through the Google Home, Family Link and Google Assistant apps on Android and iOS, parents will be able to enable/disable certain Assistant features, modify media settings and set up downtime to limit device usage for their kids.
Parents will also be able to pick out which Google Assistant devices their kids can use with parental controls, alongside limiting what kids can do on an Assistant-enabled device, like restricting calls, and picking out what kinds of questions the Assistant can answer.
“After selecting your child’s account, you can choose the music and video providers they can access — such as YouTube Kids, YouTube and YouTube Music — and your kids will only be able to explore content from those pre-selected providers. You can also decide whether you want your children to listen to news and podcasts on their devices,” wrote Google in its blog post.
Parents can also access parental controls by saying “Hey Google, open Assistant settings,” and then navigate to parental controls.
Google is also introducing kid-friendly dictionaries and voices to Assistant.
Through Voice Match, whenever Google Assistant detects a kid’s voice asking a question, it will deliver its reply in a simplified and age-appropriate manner, making it easy for kids to understand the answer to their queries. “With Kids Dictionary, children’s interactions with Assistant can be both educational and fun, allowing them to fuel their interests and learn new things. When your child is voice matched and Assistant detects their voice asking about a definition, it will automatically respond using this experience in Kids Dictionary,” wrote Google in its blog post.
Further, Google is adding four new kid-friendly voices to Assistant that were designed alongside kids and parents, with a diverse range of accents to represent different communities and ways of speaking. To activate one of the new voices, kids can say “Hey Google, change your voice!” whereas parents can switch voices directly from the Assistant settings.
Google says these features are releasing “in the coming weeks.”
Image credit: Google