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Google Assistant gets new karaoke feature - and appreciates when you ask politely

Children encouraged to say please and thank you when using Google Home products

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Just a few days after the Home Hub had its user interface updated, Google has rolled out more new features for its voice assistant.

The emphasis with this round of updates in on family fun for the holidays, and a new feature rewarding children for speaking politely to the Google Assistant.

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Starting with the holiday fun, Google has added the ability to give Santa Claus a call through any of its smart speaker and smart displays. Just say: "Hey Google, call Santa" and a game will begin where children are encouraged to help Santa learn the words to songs for an upcoming music concert.

A new read-along feature plays relevant sound effects and music as a book is read out-loud next to a Google Home device. Compatible books include Mickey's Christmas Carol, The Three Little Pigs, Alice in Wonderland, Cinderella, Toy Story 3, and Peter Pan, among others.

Just say "Hey Google, read along with [book title]" and the microphone will stay on to track where in the book your child has got to. The smart speaker will then play music and sound effects at the right time as the book is read.

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The update also brings a new karaoke feature to the Google Home Hub, displaying the lyrics to songs you request on its display. However, this is limited to family-friendly music and will not show the lyrics to tracks containing strong language.

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Don't forget to say please and thank you

Also new for the Google Assistant this week is how it now appreciates when you speak politely. Say something like: "Hey Google, please set a timer for 15 minutes", and the assistant will reply: "Thanks for asking so nicely. Alright, 15 minutes. Starting now."

The feature is called Pretty Please and is optional; Google says it is to help "reinforce polite behavior", and we can see it being useful for parents who want their children to practice saying please and thank you, instead of demanding the assistant do as they say.

Finally, and with your holiday shopping in mind, you can now ask the Google Assistant to create named lists ("Hey Google, create a gift list") and check on your existing lists ("Hey Google, what's on my shopping list?").

For more on these updates, Google has published a blog post with a full breakdown of the new Assistant features.

Check out The GearBrain, our smart home compatibility checker to see the other compatible products that work with Google Home and Home Mini

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Unboxing in 10 Seconds - Lenovo Smart Display with Google Assistant www.youtube.com

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