Say “Hey Google…” to the new Fiat 500 Family

For me, having a car has always been about more than driving. I like the way a car can reflect my style, and make my life easier. That’s why I was personally very intrigued when the Fiat team approached us. They wanted to see if we could work together to make the iconic Fiat 500 respond to people’s needs even better, even when they aren’t behind the wheel. The result of that work is the new Fiat 500 Family Hey Google, a special edition of the historic, yet very modern Fiat 500.

Image shows three Fiats from the Fiat 500 family driving on a bridge.

Anyone can ask Google Assistant for useful everyday information, like directions or weather updates. But thanks to the My Fiat Action, which integrates Fiat’s Mopar Connect service and Google Assistant, owners of the new 500 Family Hey Google can access special features even when they aren’t driving.

If you’re at home but want to check your fuel level, see if your car is locked, find the closest Fiat service station or even switch on the emergency lights, all you have to say is “Hey Google, ask My Fiat…”. Since I share my car with my partner, I know I’d be checking how full the fuel is pretty often! (Some commands aren’t available in the U.K.).

Image showing a Nest Hub with "Hey Google, ask my Fiat..." questions on the screen.

If you’re a new 500, 500X or 500L Hey Google owner, you can activate the service upon car delivery and follow the procedures from Fiat. From that moment on, you can use the My Fiat Action for Google Assistant to interact with your car by simply saying “Hey Google, ask My Fiat…” and the rest is up to you.

The new Fiat 500 Family Hey Google will soon be available in three models — 500, 500X and 500L —  in 10 European countries, including Italy, the U.K., France, Spain, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, the Netherlands and Poland. Enjoy the ride!

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Stay tournament-ready with Google

If you’re ready for a month of nonstop college hoops, we’ve got great news: Google Search and Google Assistant features are here to keep you updated and make sure you don’t miss a single play. 

One-stop shop for game highlights

We teamed up with the NCAA and Turner Sports to bring the action of both the men and women’s Tournaments to you. Game-related searches including those for specific teams, match-ups or the tournament will trigger either in-game or postgame video highlights, all from the Google Search page. From unbelievable blocks to clutch steals to buzzer beaters, you’ll be able to relive the best moments from every game. 

Gameday Assist(ant)

You can also use Google Assistant to find out when the next game is or check on the latest scores. Try asking, “Hey Google…”

  • “When’s the next college basketball  game?” 

  • “When’s the next [team name] game?”

  • “What’s the latest college basketball news?”

A Trends-based bracket

Everyone has their own method of filling out a bracket. Maybe you’ve researched the teams, or perhaps you’re one of those people who pick based on the mascots. Whatever your method, we know it’s a popular pursuit because U.S. search interest in “Bracket” peaks every year in March. Well we decided to use Search trends to fill out our own for both the men’s and women’s tournaments:

Men's NCAA tournament bracket filled out with Search trends
Women's NCAA tournament bracket filled out with Search trends

Should you choose to use it as a guide we won’t tell anyone 😉.

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Need a better night’s sleep? Meet the new Nest Hub

A little over two years ago, I was part of the team that created Nest Hub, Google’s first smart display. Since then, we’ve been exploring ways to make these devices even more helpful. We know people already come to Google for information and tools to help them live healthier, happier lives, and we’ve specifically noticed more and more questions about sleep, exercise and health. So we decided to bring these kinds of solutions to our second-generation Nest Hub, while also improving what people already love about it. 

The Nest Hub you love, but better

The new Nest Hub’s speaker is based on the same audio technology as Nest Audio and has 50 percent more bass than the original Hub. Fill any room with music, podcasts or audiobooks from services like YouTube Music, Spotify, Apple Music and Pandora — or enjoy your favorite TV shows and movies with a subscription from providers like Netflix, Disney+ and YouTube TV. With Quick Gestures, you can pause or play content at any time by tapping the air in front of your display.

Animated gif showing someone using the Quick Gestures feature.

Nest Hub has all the smarts and helpfulness of Google Assistant. And similar to Nest Mini and Nest Audio, it now comes with a dedicated on-device machine learning chip which moves some Assistant experiences from our data centers directly onto the device, so responses to common commands become faster over time (U.S. only). 

The new Nest Hub also shows all your compatible connected devices in one place. And with a built-in Thread radio, Nest Hub will work with the new connectivity standard being created by the Project Connected Home over IP working group, making it even simpler to control your connected home. 

New sleep features for better rest

The Nest Hub has always helped you tackle the day; now, it can help you rest well at night. Many of us don’t get enough sleep, which comes with some real risks. 

As a father of two young kids, I’m especially passionate about sleep. I know I’m much more able to  show up and connect with my family and the people in my life after a healthy amount of rest. In recent years, sleep trackers have become a popular solution. But we wanted to offer an alternative way for people who may not want to wear something to bed to understand their sleep.

Image shows an infographic outlining various ailments caused by lack of sleep.

We knew people felt comfortable with Nest Hub at their bedsides thanks to its camera-free design, so we went to work. The result is Sleep Sensing, an opt-in feature to help you understand and improve your sleep:

Understand your sleep:Sleep Sensing uses Motion Sense (powered by Soli low-energy radar technology) to analyze how the person closest to the display is sleeping, based on their movement and breathing — all without a camera or wearable. Sleep Sensing can also detect sleep disturbances like coughing and snoring or the light and temperature changes in the room with Nest Hub’s built-in microphones and ambient light and temperature sensors, so you can better understand what’s impacting your sleep. 

Every morning you’ll receive a personalized sleep summary on your display, or you can view your sleep data anytime on the Nest Hub by asking, “Hey Google, how did I sleep?” Sleep Sensing can also connect to your Google Fit app on Android and iOS devices, so you can see your sleep summary alongside your other health and wellness information.

Get help for better sleep: Understanding your sleep is an important first step, but you may still have questions about what you can do to get better sleep. Sleep Sensing provides tailored bedtime schedules and personalized suggestions developed by a team of sleep scientists and using guidance from organizations like the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. Compiled after several nights of analysis, these suggestions point out notable aspects of your sleep, educate you on why they’re important and provide suggestions to improve.

Built with your privacy in mind:Sleep Sensing is completely optional with privacy safeguards in place so you’re in control: You choose if you want to enable it and there’s a visual indicator on the display to let you know when it’s on. Motion Sense only detects motion, not specific bodies or faces, and your coughing and snoring audio data is only processed on the device — it isn’t sent to Google servers. You have multiple controls to disable Sleep Sensing features, including a hardware switch that physically disables the microphone. You can review or delete your sleep data at any time, and consistent with our privacy commitments, it isn’t used for personalized ads.

Sleep Sensing on the second-gen Nest Hub is available as a free preview until next year. We’ll also be looking for ways to work with Fitbit’s sleep-tracking features in the future. 

Even if you don’t enable Sleep Sensing, you can still fall asleep and wake up easier with Nest Hub. The display dims to make your bedroom more sleep-friendly, and the “Your evening” page helps you wind down at night with relaxing sounds. When it’s time to wake up, Nest Hub’s Sunrise Alarm gradually brightens the display and increases the alarm volume. If you need a few more ZZZs, use Motion Sense to wave your hand and snooze the alarm. 

Sustainable design that matches any room

The new Nest Hub comes in a variety of colors to complement any room in the house: Chalk, Charcoal, Sand and the new Mist. It features an edgeless glass display that’s easy to clean and functions as a beautiful digital photo frame. And continuing our commitment to sustainability, Nest Hub is designed with recycled materials with its plastic mechanical parts containing 54 percent recycled post-consumer plastic.

The second-generation Nest Hub is $99.99 USD. It can be preordered online in the U.S., Canada, U.K., Germany, France and Australia at the Google Store and other retailers starting today.

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Your Android is now even safer — and 5 other new features

It wasn’t all that long ago that we introduced Android users to features like Emoji Kitchen and auto-narrated audiobooks. But we like to stay busy, so today we’re highlighting six of the latest Google updates that will make Android phones more secure and convenient — for everyone.

1. Keep your accounts safe with Password Checkup on Android

Password Checkup notification screen

Password Checkup notification screen

On Android, you can save passwords to your Google account, making it quicker and easier to sign into your apps and services using Autofill. Your login credentials are one of your first lines of defense against intruders, so we’ve integrated Password Checkup into devices running Android 9 and above. This feature lets you know if the password you used has been previously exposed and what to do about it.

Now when you enter a password into an app on your phone using Autofill with Google, we’ll check those credentials against a list of known compromised passwords — that is, passwords that have potentially already been stolen and posted on the web. If your credentials show up on one of these lists, we’ll alert you and guide you to check your password and change it. 

Learn more on our support page about changing unsafe passwords. And you can find additional information about how this product works in this blog post.

We’re passionate about building defense into every detail on Android, from downloading apps to browsing the web to choosing where and when you share your data. Learn more about how Android keeps you safe.

2. Use schedule send in Messages to write a text now and send it later

Schedule a text to send it at your chosen date and time

Click on the image above to learn how to schedule a text to send at your chosen date and time

Over half a billion people across the world use Messages to seamlessly and safely connect with family, friends and others every month. To continue  improving the way you communicate and help you stay in touch, we’re starting to roll out schedule send in Messages for phones running Android 7 and newer. 

Having loved ones in another time zone or on a different schedule can sometimes make it difficult to send a text at an appropriate time. With schedule send, you can compose a message ahead of time when it’s convenient for you, and schedule it to send at the right moment. Just write your message as you normally would, then hold and press the send button to select a date and time to deliver your message. Download Messages or update to the latest version to schedule your next text.

3. No need to look at your screen, with TalkBack

Start and stop media with Talkback gestures

Click on the image above to see how to start and stop media with Talkback gestures 

For those who are blind or have trouble seeing the display, the new version of TalkBack, Android’s screen reader, is now available. Using spoken feedback and gestures, TalkBack makes Android even more accessible and opens up a full phone experience without needing to look at your screen. We worked closely with the blind and low vision communities on this revamp of TalkBack to incorporate the most popularly requested features including: more intuitive gestures, a unified menu, a new reading control menu and more. Get TalkBack today by downloading or updating your Android accessibility apps in the Google Play Store.

4. Get more done hands-free with Google Assistant

Use Google Assistant to send a text, even when your phone is locked

Use Google Assistant to send a text, even when your phone is locked

We want to give you more ways to use your phone hands-free — so you can do things like use your voice to make calls, set timers or alarms and play music. Now, the latest updates to Google Assistant make it easier to get things done on your phone without needing to be right next to it.

Assistant now works better even when your phone is locked or across the room with new cards that can be read with just a glance. Just say “Hey Google, set an alarm” or “Hey Google, play pop music on Spotify.” To get the most out of Assistant when your phone is locked, simply turn on Lock Screen Personal Results in Assistant setting and say “Hey Google ” to send text messages and make calls.

5. Come to the dark side with dark theme in Google Maps 

San Francisco on Google Maps dark theme

San Francisco on Google Maps dark theme

These days, we’re all experiencing a bit of screen fatigue. With dark theme in Google Maps soon expanding to all Android users globally, you can give your eyes a much-needed break and save on battery life. Simply head to your Settings, tap on Theme and then on “Always in Dark Theme” to lower the lights when you’re navigating, exploring, or getting things done with Maps. Change your mind? Just tap on “Always in Light Theme” to switch it back.

6. A better drive with Android Auto

Stay entertained with voice-activated games on your display with Android Auto

Stay entertained with voice-activated games on your display with Android Auto

Android Auto’s new features help you enjoy the drive more. With custom wallpapers, you can now select from a variety of car-inspired backgrounds to personalize your car display. For longer drives, you and your passengers can stay entertained with voice-activated games like trivia and “Jeopardy!” Just say, “Hey Google, play a game” to get started. 

We’ve also launched shortcuts on the launch screen. These provide convenient access to your contacts and even allow you to use Assistant to complete tasks like checking the weather or remotely adjusting the thermostat by simply tapping on the icon on your car display, just as you would on your phone. For cars with wider screens, you can do more with a split-screen that features a real-time view of Google Maps and media controls. And if you have family and friends coming along for the ride, you can now set a privacy screen to control when Android Auto appears on your car display. 

These Android Auto features will be available in the coming days on phones running Android 6.0 or above, and when connected to your compatible car.

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We can’t heartly wait for Valentine’s Day

This year, we want to bring a little sparkle to your Valentine’s Day — literally. 

Today’s Google Doodle shimmers with glitter, which the artist created using glue and stop motion photography. If you want to let someone know you care, let the Doodle be an inspiration and try making your own card – my personal preference is the more glitter, the better. If you’re struggling with finding the right words for your Valentine, you aren’t alone: Searches for “what to write in valentines day card” increased by 400 percent in the U.S. this week.

Valentine's Day Doodle

Of course everyone celebrates Valentine’s Day differently — maybe cards aren’t your thing. A few other consistent searches showed up in Google this year. Classic gifts are still a go-to: “Valentine’s chocolate” and “Valentine’s flowers” saw search increases this week (in fact, searches for “where do they sell flowers near me” spiked more than 3,950% this week). Take a look at how they compare across the country.

Valentine Flowers and Chocolate

Instead of sticking to the tried-and-true, perhaps you’re looking to express yourself a bit more…visually. Say, with a heart-shaped…something! Here are the most popular searches for “heart-shaped…” items by state. It looks like people in Texas are tacoing about love this year, while over in Illinois, they’re sharing a pizza of their heart.

Heart Shaped Trends

These Google Trends aren’t the only thing that’s heart-shaped: Search for “Valentine’s Day” on Google and you’ll get a sweet(heart) surprise. 

And if you’re looking to tell someone how you feel this holiday, Google Assistant can help you spread the love. Here’s a list to get you started:

  • “Hey Google, read me a love poem.”

  • “Hey Google, play romantic music.” 

  • “Hey Google, turn up the love” for some light jazz, and if you have color-changing smart lights, they’ll light up in red and purple tones.

  • “Hey Google, show romantic dinner recipes.”

  • “Hey Google, serenade me.”

  • “Hey Google, play a podcast about relationships.” 

  • “Hey Google, tell me a fact about love” to learn about love in the animal kingdom.

  • Or ask, “Hey Google, do you love me?” for some help creating your own poem.

You can even treat yourself to a romantic movie night — or nights, no judgement here. Google TV is featuring Valentine’s Day collections until February 21, so you can settle in and browse through “Rom-coms you love,” “Ugly cry: Sad love stories” or “Black love stories.” These collections are available on your Chromecast with Google TV or in the Google TV app on Android devices in the U.S.

No matter what your plans are this year, we hope you have a great Valentine’s Day — and sorry for all the heartfelt puns…I know I can be pretty coronary.

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Huddle up: Here’s your guide to football’s biggest day

As the returning champs take on the hometown team this Sunday, you may be feeling a bit nostalgic for the days when we could pack into sold out arenas. But don’t worry, some game day traditions live on. We have a few trick plays up our sleeve to help you plan your at-home game day experience.

Say “Hey Google” to get into the football festivities

Google Assistant is prepared to help you brush up on your football facts, help you in the kitchen, share live scores and more. Here are some questions to get you started:

  • “Hey Google, who’s going to win the big game?” 

  • “Hey Google, help me talk like a football fan.”

  • “Hey Google, give me facts about football.” (Spoiler alert: One fact Assistant shares is that no team has ever won the big game three years in a row.)

  • “Hey Google, set a pizza timer” or “Hey Google, set a timer for chicken wings” will set game day-themed timers so you can cook your favorite grub.

Google TV is game day-ready 

On Sunday, you can tune in on your Chromecast with Google TV or in the Google TV app on Android devices in the U.S. to catch the game. Stream away the day from kick-off to the final play with a subscription to CBS All Access (the game is also available via CBS broadcast and via mobile on the CBS Sports app).

Ready, set, (ads) blitz on YouTube 

AdBlitz is YouTube’s annual home for both in-game and digital-only advertisers to showcase their Big Game ads. It’s a one-stop shop for fans to discover and watch their favorite Big Game ads before, during and after the game. You can find ads, teasers, extended cuts and more  at . The top ads with the most accumulated views by February 15 will be awarded bragging rights for the rest of the year!

Search’s stats sheet

As people prepare for the biggest football game of the year, a few interesting search trends have emerged. For starters, check out these maps showing regional interest in the teams and their quarterbacks:

Most Searched SBLV Teams
Most Searched SBLV Quarterbacks

And it looks like no one wants to fumble during the halftime show; here are the most-searched lyrics from this year’s performing artist: 

  1. Blinding Lights

  2. Save Your Tears

  3. Wicked Games

  4. Heartless

  5. The Hills

Here’s a Search trend that returns time and time again: Search interest for “seven layer dip” spike every year ahead of the game, but that’s not the only popular snack. Check out what each state is cooking up:

Super Bowl LV

That’s all for our pre-game coverage, but if your team is crowned the champion, you’ll want to look them up on Search for a congratulatory surprise! And if you want to stay up to date on the score during the big day, search “Superb owl” on Google (It’s sure to be a hoot.)

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The best of Google, now in new devices

Wherever you are and whatever you’re doing, technology should work for you. This week during a virtual CES and Galaxy Unpacked, we were introduced to a lineup of new products that do exactly that, all with the best of Google built in.

Whether you’re heading out or staying in, there’s something new for you to get excited about.

When you’re on the go

The new Galaxy S21 series comes with a more cohesive Android experience and updates that make it easier to stay in touch with friends and family. From your phone, you can now mirror Google Duo to your Samsung TV, so video calls feel a little more like the real thing. With the Messages app, you can use Rich Communication Services (RCS) to chat over Wi-Fi, know when messages are read, share reactions as well as high resolution videos, and enjoy a more dynamic communication experience with features such as Smart Actions and spam protection (varies by carrier and market availability). A single swipe from your home screen will give you the option for personalized content with Discover, while our screen reader TalkBack has been revamped so that people with blindness or trouble seeing their displays can use spoken feedback and gestures to navigate their phone without having to look at the screen (varies by carrier and market availability).

We’re also working with Samsung to make it easier to manage smart home products from your device. You can control Nest devices, like Nest thermostats, cameras and doorbells, from the SmartThings app on Galaxy smartphones and tablets. See all your connected devices on one screen by tapping on “Devices” in the Quick Panel of the Galaxy S21. Starting next week, SmartThings will also be available in Android Auto, so you can do things like turn off your kitchen lights from your car’s display as you pull out of the driveway.

For parents who want a productive tablet that can easily be shared with their kids, the new Lenovo Tab P11 comes with Kids Space, our new kids mode that features recommended apps, books and videos to help kids under 9 learn and have fun. 

And to get help from your wrist, new Wear OS by Google smartwatches keep you connected wherever you are. For Android phone users in the U.S., you can send texts and make calls on Fossil’s Gen 5 LTE Touchscreen Smartwatch without your phone. And Michael Kors Access Gen 5E MKGO and Gen 5E Darci smartwatches are a fashionable option for keeping track of your health and wellness, staying in touch with friends and family and even making payments.

You’ll even be able to leave your phone in your pocket when you’re outside. New headphones, including the JBL Tour ONE and Tour Pro+ and Kenwood WS-A1G come with help from Google. Simply press the earbud to send a message, access your calendar or change songs.

Of course, for those times when you’re perfectly happy…

Hanging out at home

Google TV will be available on 2021 smart TVs from Sony and TCL. Google TV is a new entertainment experience that brings together movies, shows, live TV and more from across your apps and subscriptions and organizes them just for you. You can ask “Hey Google, find action movies” or “show me sci-fi adventure TV shows” and browse a wide selection of content with your voice. In fact your voice can be used in all sorts of ways: Your LG TV (from 2019 models) can now be controlled by a Google-enabled smart speaker in 15 countries and six languages. You will also soon be able to control your Verizon Fios set top box by voice when connected with a Google-enabled smart speaker or Smart Display. And to do more on your TV, you can stay connected with your loved ones with one-on-one or group video calls with the Duo app on Samsung TV (an optional USB-camera needed).

New connected lights from LIFX, Nanoleaf and Yeelight now work with Hey Google. These new devices support Seamless setup, which makes it possible to connect compatible smart home devices directly through the Google Home app and a Nest speaker or Smart Display without the need for an additional hub or bridge. 

If you’re looking for an assist with cleaning up around the house, you can just say “Hey Google” to control the Smart MEDION’s vacuum cleaner MD 19601. To help more manufacturers bring voice capabilities like this to their smart home devices, we also recently launched the Authorized Solution Provider program. Our certified partners Tuya and CoolKit can now help manufacturers  build smart home Actions for Google Assistant. 

Whatever new device you pick out, Google will be there to help you get things done and get the most of your tech.

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Guest Mode: An easy privacy control for your home devices

It’s our responsibility to respect your privacy, no matter what device you’re using. That’s why Google Assistant is built to automatically keep your information private, safe and secure. By default, we don’t save your audio recordings and you can ask Google Assistant questions like “How do you keep my information private?” or delete activity from your Google Account by saying things like “Hey Google, delete everything I said to you this week.” 

Last year, we also added a way to adjust how sensitive Google Assistant is to the phrase “Hey Google,” giving you more ways to reduce unintentional activations. And as more people discover the convenience of smart speakers and displays, we want to make sure it’s as easy to control how Google Assistant works with your data as it is to play your favorite song.

“Hey Google, tell me about Guest Mode” 

Today, we’re introducing Guest Mode, another easy way to control your privacy on smart speakers and Smart Displays, like Nest Audio and Nest Hub Max. Just say, “Hey Google, turn on Guest Mode,” and your Google Assistant interactions will not be saved to your account. While in Guest Mode, you can enjoy popular features, like asking questions, controlling smart home devices, setting timers and playing music. Your device won’t show personal results, like your calendar entries or contacts, until you turn the mode off. 

Once Guest Mode has been turned on, your device will play a special chime and you’ll see a guest icon on the display. If you’re ever unsure if you’re in Guest Mode, you can always ask your device, “Is Guest Mode on?” Guest Mode will stay on until you choose to turn it off: When you’re ready, say “Hey Google, turn off Guest Mode” to return to your full, personalized Google Assistant experience. 

Animated GIF showing

More privacy for your shared devices

Recently, I was looking up new recipes to surprise my family with a nice New Year’s Eve dinner, but didn’t want those suggestions to appear on our Smart Display and spoil my plans. By turning on Guest Mode I could ask Google for recipes suggestions knowing that research wouldn’t show up in my history, and without having to manually go through my settings or toggle other controls on and off. When I finished, I turned Guest Mode off so I could enjoy my fully personalized Assistant and use things like my custom routine, which helps me unwind by playing my favorite jazz music and prepares me for the next day by reviewing my calendar.

Guest Mode can also come in handy when you have people over and you don’t want their interactions with your device to be saved to your account. You or your guests can easily turn it on and off at any time. Whatever your reason, we know there are times you may not want your own Google Assistant interactions saved — the choice is always yours. When you use your Assistant in Guest Mode to interact with other apps and services, like Google Maps, YouTube or media and smart home services, those apps may still save that activity. You can find more information here.

Google Assistant is designed to automatically safeguard your privacy and offer simple ways for you to control how it works with your data. Try Guest Mode today on Google Nest speakers and displays in English, and we’ll be bringing it to more languages and devices in the next few months. For more information, just say, “Hey Google, tell me about Guest Mode” to your Google speaker or smart display, or visit 

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Here’s how Google Assistant lent a helping hand in 2020

As we look at how people used Google Assistant this year,

We hope these reflections may bring you some cheer.

From staying in touch to cooking a meal, 

It’s clear we find many of the same things ideal.

In 2020, it felt like many of us needed a little more assistance than usual. With more time spent at home, the ways people used Google Assistant evolved to accommodate new habits and routines—and to help with this, we focused on launching new features, adding new services like Disney+, Netflix, Duo, Meet and Zoom, and creating new tools for developers. As we close out the year, we’re taking a look at the most popular ways that people used Assistant, as well as some more recent trends. 

Lending a hand to families

This year, we launched Family Notes to keep the whole house up to date and running smoothly. We also introduced Family Bell, which launched just in time for the (mostly virtual) school year and was quickly adopted to help families stay on track throughout the day. Here are the top five bells set this school year:

  1. Time for bed

  2. Time for breakfast

  3. Lunch time

  4. Dinner time

  5. Class is starting

If you’re enjoying time off from work or school, today we launched the ability to pause your bells until you resume your normal routine. Simply tap the “Pause bells” banner on the Family Bell settings page. Your bells will automatically resume once the pause period is over.

And the amount of requests made to Assistant for help with spelling, using the dictionary and translations more than doubled this year. The top translation request this year was for “I love you”—and the top word that people needed help spelling? “Quarantine.” 

(As a reminder, with their parent’s permission, children under 13—or the applicable age in their country—can have a personalized Google Assistant experience when they log in with their own account, powered by Family Link.)

Finding ways to keep in touch

The number of text messages sent with Assistant more than doubled in 2020; currently, “Mom” is the most-called person with Assistant. Many of us also turned to group video calls through Zoom, Google Meet and Duo to host virtual celebrations, attend workout classes and to simply catch up with loved ones.

Spending more time in the kitchen 

Recipes searched with Assistant grew over eight times this past year, and thanks to quarantine’s baking trends, banana bread is still the most requested recipe on Assistant. And because baking calls for perfect timing, more timers were set in 2020 than ever before.

Staying informed and entertained 

Streaming entertainment helped us enjoy newfound time at home, and Assistant brought us even more movies and TV shows from Disney+ andNetflix on Nest Hub devices. We told stories, too: This year, the number of stories told by Assistant increased over three times. Try it out yourself by saying, “Hey Google, tell me a story.” 

In recent trends, the top music genre is currently holiday music, followed by country, relaxing music, rock and pop. And while many of us commuted more frequently between the couch and kitchen than to and from an office, we still turned to podcasts to stay entertained and up-to-date. The most-listened to podcasts on Assistant currently are: 

  • The Daily

  • NPR

  • Savage Love

  • Joe Rogan

  • Ben Shapiro

  • Two Princes

  • This American Life

Controlling homes and devices

Assistant was even busier controlling smart home devices this year. The most popular ask was to turn the lights on or off, and many of us also asked Assistant to adjust the fan, change the temperature on the thermostat, control the TV or launch a game on Xbox.

Today, we rolled out Scheduled Actions so people can “set it and forget it.” Try asking Google to turn off the lights in 10 minutes, or at 11:25 pm on the dot; or say “Hey Google, run the fan for 20 minutes” eliminating the need to remember to turn it off later. 

We also made it easier to quickly set up many smart devices, including lights and plugs—from Philips Hue, C by GE, Yeelight, Nanoleaf, Ledvance, ABL Lighting and Energetic by Yankon—right out of the box. Supported by Seamless Setup, you can now connect your new devices to Google Assistant right from the Google Home app in just a few steps. There’s no need to download another app or install anything else. 

2020’s been a busy year for Assistant, but we wouldn’t have it any other way.

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Ready to play? New games on your Smart Display

The holiday season is here and hopefully that means you’ll get a chance to relax. If you find yourself with some down time, check out the latest collection of games for Smart Displays. 

Just say, “Hey Google, let’s play a game” and Google Assistant will present you a collection of puzzles, word games, and even virtual pets. Here are some of the titles we’ve recently added:  

Calling all wordsmiths

I’ve always enjoyed crossword puzzles but have limited time to play, so I usually play Horizontal Crosswords, a fast-paced game that gives you fresh puzzles every day. You’ll see a series of clues and need to speak your answer before time runs out. There’s also Game of Words from Stoked Skills, in which you’ll be given six letters and need to use them to assemble as many words as possible. The longer the word, the more points you get. You can even compete against other players around the world and move up the ranks as you win.

If you’re more into fantasy-themed games, try Voice Quest from Doppio Games. You play a mage who uses synonyms to power spells and your voice to cast magic and defeat your enemies. Another adventure game is Power of Words from Just AI. Your mission is to save peaceful warriors from evil trolls and you battle monsters by guessing hidden words.

Looking forward, Zynga’s upcoming release Daily Word Wheel challenges you to solve crossword puzzles by unscrambling letters. As you play, your progress is saved so you can take a break and pick up where you left the game. . 

Solve challenging puzzles 

From Cool Games, the makers of Guess the Drawing, comes Daily Brain Trainer. Keep your mind sharp with quick daily puzzles that test your memory, reaction times, and pattern matching skills. Success unlocks even more difficult puzzles and you can compare your results to other players and track your performance as you improve. 

Soon you’ll also be able to try Brainwash Puzzle. Ready yourself as the countdown begins and a series of pictures flash past on the monitor. Find the common theme as quickly as you can to advance to the next session. 

New experiences for kids and families

You can also grab some time with an adorable digital critter. In My Smart Pet, your adventure leads you to a virtual pet that grows to understand you the more you talk to it. And since visiting an aquarium might be tough right now, you’ll soon be able to enjoy your own virtual aquarium with Hey Fish. Customize your fish bowl and take special care of its inhabitants. Also coming soon, you’ll even be able to choose Hello Kitty as a virtual companion. Help her choose where she should go and who she should meet. 

For some extra fun during reading time you can now say: “Hey Google, tell me a Shimmer and Shine Story” and hear content from the popular Nickelodeon series. Or, you can just say: “Hey Google, tell me a bedtime story” to see a selection of stories that’ll help you get some rest. There are even more educational songs, books, and videos just waiting for you to say: “Hey Google, Talk to ABCmouse.” (With a parent’s permission, children under 13, or the applicable age in their country, can have a personalized Google Assistant experience and access these games designed for kids and families, powered by Family Link.) 

Discover more, more easily

We’ve redesigned the Games lobby on your Smart Display to highlight Featured Games, top-ranked games, and your recently played games so it’s easy to find your favorites again. You’ll also see cards and tiles on your Smart Display that launch great games with a single touch. Of course, you can always say: “Hey Google, play a game” and we’ll be here for your entertainment needs—through the holiday season and into the new year.

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