If you have a number of Google Assistant-enabled smart home kit, including the likes of Samsung Smart TVs, Nest Mini, Nest Hub, and others in your family home, then the latest feature from Google could prove incredibly helpful. That’s because Google is allowing younger members of the family to ask the Google Assistant to find your current whereabouts.
So, if your child has arrived home from school to find themselves in an empty house, they can now ask the Google Nest Audio to pinpoint your current location. Using data from Google Maps, the chatty AI helper will be able to give them a rough idea of where you’re hiding – and hopefully, reassure them that you’re running a little late and on the way back. The only condition is the person asking for the location needs to be over the age of 13. The new features are powered by Life360, which is a family-focused service designed to help parents or guardians keep tabs on the location of younger family members.
If you’re familiar with Apple gadgets, it brings functionality that’s very similar to the Find My app, which lets iCloud Family members find one another on the map, get notifications when someone has arrived or left a specific spot, and get turn-by-turn directions to their current location with one quick tap. Life360 offers identical features, but crucially, works even if some members of the family use iPhones, while others have Android smartphones and tablets.
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It also offers a Driver Report, which lets family members “see how (and what) your drivers are doing behind the wheel to encourage safe habits”. But it’s the location-based functionality, including the ability to “get notified as loved ones come and go from your most frequented spots” that now ties into the Google Home-compatible smart home kit. It will also be available on Android and iOS devices, so you’ll be able to summon the Google Assistant on your personal smartphone to find out where your nearest and dearest are at any one time.
As well as building in ties for Life360 customers, Google has also added a number of its own family-focused features. For example, it now allows users to append digital sticky notes to the Nest Hub and other smart displays thanks to a new Family Notes feature. So, if you’ve got a Nest Hub Max in your kitchen, you can plaster reminders or notes “Remember to take out the rubbish” that will be on display for whoever arrives home first.
Family Notes can also be used to leave messages for family members, which will also be displayed on touchscreen-enabled Google Assistant devices. It can also be used to keep track of shared To Do lists.
To make it easier to find all of these family-focused features, Google is adding a new Family tab to the redesigned touchscreen interface for Nest Hub, Nets Hub Max, and third-party devices, like the Lenovo Smart Display that debuted earlier this year.
It’s not clear exactly when you’ll find the Family tab on Google Assistant-enabled smart displays, but the Californian firm says it hopes to have it up-and-running on devices worldwide “later this year”.