If you enjoyed falling asleep to the sound of classic fables like “The Three Little Pigs” and “Cinderella” during bedtime as a child, then Google has just the thing for you. The company’s popular virtual assistant, Google Assistant, can now read you a story if you ask it to. Google rolled the update out to Google Assistant on Android and iOS devices in the US, UK, Canada, Australia, and India on National Tell a Story Day (April 27).
For the new Tell Me a Story feature to work, the Google Play Books app must first be installed on your iPhone or Android smartphone. Then, to listen to any random story, all you have to do is trigger Google Assistant on your phone and say, “Tell me a story”. This will prompt Google to read out stories like “Let’s Be Firefighters!” (Blaze and the Monster Machines), “Robot Rampage” (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles), and others.
On the other hand, if you’re trying to put your children to sleep and want a bedtime story, or even want one for yourself, all you have to do is trigger Google Assistant and say, “Tell me a bedtime story”. This will prompt Google to read more age-appropriate and easy-listening tales. It will include sound effects while reading out select Disney Little Golden Books, like, “Coco”, “The Three Little Pigs”, “Alice in Wonderland”, “Cinderella”, “Peter Pan”, and “Toy Story 3”. Google Assistant users in the US will be able to use a complementing feature called “read along” on Google Home smart speakers.
“Another great reading option is 'Ara the Star Engineer': Authored by my colleague Komal Singh, the book inspires young children to explore the magic of STEM by highlighting themes like courage, creativity, coding and collaboration,” writes Eric Liu, Product Manager for Google Assistant at Google in the company’s blog post on the matter. Calling out to Google Assistant when a story is being read lets you pause, resume, go back, and skip ahead within the story.