How to Use Google Assistant During the Holidays

The say that technology and screen time can make kids less patient and kind. But Google has released a few new features for its assistant that can make your children a bit less demanding.

There's also some stuff to make the holiday season potentially easier and family gatherings more fun.

Credit: Phil Michaels/Tom's Guide

(Image credit: Phil Michaels/Tom's Guide)

These are the Google Assistant features and tricks for the holidays:

"Pretty Please": To encourage polite manners during family gatherings, Google Assistant now enforces politeness. If you say "please," or "thank you," Assistant will respond favorably, with something like "Thanks for asking so nicely."

Gift Lists: You can now use voice commands to create your gift list. Say "Hey, Google, add an Echo Dot to my gift list," to add an item, and "Hey, Google, what's on my gift list?" to pull the list up.

Sing-Along: If you have a Google Play Music subscription, your smart display can now display the lyrics to "select songs" on the screen, in sync with the music.

Talk To Santa: If your little one fancies a chat with the Saint Nick, she only needs to say "Hey, Google, call Santa." She'll have the chance to help Santa rehearse for a holiday concert, and see album covers from the North Pole's popular bands.

In addition, you can use Assistant's Read Along skill to add music and sound effects to a number of holiday stories and fairy tales. You don't have to worry about keeping up with the soundtrack -- Google listens to you reading, and tailors its sound effects to where you are in the story. If you don't feel like reading, Google can also do the work for you. Say "Hey, Google, tell me a story."

You can also finally use your Google Home Hub for two-way communication with the Nest Hello video doorbell. That means when Grandma shows up at your door, you can greet her through your smart display before letting her in.

Google has also rolled out a number of smart display-specific features. You can now share holiday photos on your screen with family by saying "Hey, Google, share this photo with Mom."

For more Google Assistant-related tips, tricks, and how-tos, check out our complete guide to Google Assistant.

Monica Chin is a writer at The Verge, covering computers. Previously, she was a staff writer for Tom's Guide, where she wrote about everything from artificial intelligence to social media and the internet of things to. She had a particular focus on smart home, reviewing multiple devices. In her downtime, you can usually find her at poetry slams, attempting to exercise, or yelling at people on Twitter.