Google Assistant Will Be More Polite As It Adds Holiday Features
Google today introduced an update to Google Assistant that brings new behaviors and features to the voice-activated helper. First, the Assistant is rolling out a feature meant for families called Pretty Please. The idea, introduced at I/O in May, is to help parents and families respond to positive conversations with polite reinforcement. When children or other users say "please" or "thank you" when interacting with Google Assistant, it will respond in kind. Moreover, it is voice-matched so it will speak directly to the person by name. In addition to Pretty Please, Assistant is tacking on a handful of holiday-themed tools. For example, people can easily create notes and lists, such as "Hey Google, create a gift list." Assistant on smart displays will now play nicely with Nest video doorbells. It includes a two-way talk function so people can have a conversation with the caller. Google Play Music subscribers can take advantage of a new feature that brings song lyrics to smart display screens for sing-along fun. This is available for select songs. Assistant-supplied sound effects and music are available to more book titles for interactive read-along experiences. Children can say "Hey Google, call Santa" and have a chat with the annual gift giver. Google's Home Hub and Home speaker support replies to broadcasts. People can use Assistant from their phone to broadcast a message to the Assistant-powered devices at home, and receive a response from whoever is there. Last, Google has improved how Google Photos are shared on smart displays, making it easier to share photos with people on their contact list. These new features are rolling out today.
YouTube Kids to Give Parents More Control
Apr 25, 2018
YouTube has updates in store for its YouTube Kids service that will provide parents with more granular control over what their children can find and watch. Beginning immediately, Google's partners will cull together "collections of trusted channels" that range across topics such as music, sports, and arts and crafts so parents can pick and choose which their children are allowed to watch.
Microsoft Adds Parental Controls to Android Launcher and Edge
May 31, 2018
Microsoft today introduced new tools for parents that can help them manage their kids' use of mobile devices. The Microsoft Launcher for Android phones now includes location history so parents can see their children's last known location with a time stamp.
Apple Says iOS 12 Will Be Faster, Work Better On Older iPhones
Jun 4, 2018
Apple today announced iOS 12, its next-generation platform for the iPhone and iPad. Apple says it spent time improving the performance of the operating system, which in claims will work well on iPhones and iPads that went on sale as far back as 2013.
Republic Wireless Relay Is a Google-Powered, Walkie-Talkie Phone for Kids
Dec 7, 2017
Republic Wireless today announced the Relay, a simple, screenless device meant to help young children communicate with their parents and other family members. The Relay is small, puck-like speakerphone with a single large button.
Palm Comes Back from the Dead With Pint-Sized Verizon Exclusive
Oct 15, 2018
Palm, a California company that purchased the rights to the Palm brand from TCL, today launched a new device it calls an ultra-mobile product that "syncs with your smartphone to keep you connected but not consumed." The idea is to allow people to access their vital apps when needed, but keep them from staring at their screen all day — particularly when they are out and about. The device is tiny and features an aluminum chassis with Gorilla Glass panels front and back.
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