Google Assistant is getting in the literary action by bringing storytelling to Assistant for Android and iOS on the road with you. With this feature, mobile users can have Google read them a tale using the simple command, “Hey Google, tell me a story.” No matter where or how you or your kids choose to read or listen to a book, the Google Assistant can help out at storytime, a Godsend for parents.
This was previously launched on Google Home smart speakers, which require user to make their request through the speaker rather than their phone. A great feature given its accessibility to children who may not have access to a smartphone or tablet, but it does limit where the stories take place. Now, whether you’re on the way to school drop-off or waiting for soccer practice to start, you can hear stories like “Let’s Be Firefighters!” (Blaze and the Monster Machines), “Robot Rampage” (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) and more. The stories are intended for kids and are pulled from a library of kid-safe books. To listen to all of these great stories, just say, “Hey Google, tell me a story.”
Families in the U.S. can also make storytime a little more magical with a feature called Read along, available on Google Home smart speakers (Home, Mini, Max and Hub). This includes 10 minute tales from Disney or other classics. The Assistant brings stories to life with actual voice actor and sound effects, as you read select Disney Little Golden Books aloud, like
- “The Three Little Pigs,”
- “Alice in Wonderland,”
- “Peter Pan,” and “Toy Story 3”.
To try it out, just grab one of the compatible books and say, “Hey Google, let’s read along” and the Assistant will ask you which book you’d like to read. Another great reading option is “Ara the Star Engineer”: the book inspires young children to explore the magic of STEM by highlighting themes like courage, creativity, coding and collaboration. Just say “Hey Google, read along with Ara the Star Engineer.” With their parent’s permission, children under 13 can also have their own personalized Google Assistant experience when they log in with their own account, through Family Link.
Looking for more ways to get your family reading together, consider asking Assistant to read an audiobook on Google Play. Log into Google Play Books and say, “Hey Google, read Charlotte’s Web,” or any audiobook title, and you’ll hear a free sample if you don’t own the audiobook. Ready to start listening? Check out some family favorites available for download:
- “Charlotte’s Web” by E. B. White
- “The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom” by Christopher Healy
- “Oh, The Places You’ll Go!” by Dr. Seuss
- “The Collected Stories of Winnie-the-Pooh” by A.A. Milne
- “Penny and Her Marble” by Kevin Henkes
Audiobooks are available on the Assistant in English in the U.S., Australia, Canada and Great Britain, German and Japanese. Pause, resume or skip forward or backward in your audiobook just by using your voice by saying, “Hey Google, read my book,” to resume your place, or ask, “Hey Google, skip to the next chapter.” Read along will also play ambient music if you pause while it waits for you to continue the story.
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How to Get Google Assistant to Tell You a Story
To begin story time, all you have to do is say, “Hey Google, tell me a story” or “Hey Google, tell me a bedtime story” works better for night-themed narratives, a neat little feature, and another tool in a parent’s arsenal when their little ones won’t go to sleep.
Tell Me a Story is available in English on your Android or iOS phone in the U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia and India. You’ll need to have the latest version of Google Play Books for Android or iOS installed to listen to all of these great stories.
Which stories have you enjoyed on smart speaker or phone, let us know in the comments below.