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Google’s Family Bell Adds School Structure to Remote Learning

A Nest Hub that says "It's time for virtual class."

With the ongoing global pandemic, remote learning is quickly becoming a choice more and more parents have to make. Today, Google announced new features for Assistant and Nest Hubs that should help with schooling at home. Family Bell will give your school day structure, and new commands can help start the day off right.

As a parent with a child attending school remotely, Family Bell is the perhaps most intriguing feature announced today. You probably remember the school bell when you were in school that signified the start and end of class. Family Bell emulates that, although it doesn’t play a bell noise.

An Andorid phone with Family Bell settings

Instead, Family Bell is closer to an announcement system. You can have it announce anything you like from “time to start math class” to “take a recess, super learner.” You create Family Bells from Nest Hubs or from Google Assistant on your Android phone or iPhone, and you can specify which devices play a particular Family Bell.

If you want more traditional sounds, try the command “Hey Google, Start the school day” or “school’s in session.” Your Nest Hub will display school-themed art, play a school bell noise, and follow it up with traditional school noises like talking in a hallway, and lockers opening and closing. Family Bell is rolling out right now.

A Nest Hub with an Oceleot on the screen.

Broadcasting to every Nest Hub in the house is a popular Google Assistant command, but to help with the school day you can now broadcast to a specific Nest Hub. Just say, “Broadcast to the [room name],” followed by your announcement.

And Google is adding fun school facts and activities to Assistant as well. You can ask for animal facts to hear fun facts about animals every day or play a kid’s game to discover new games to play with your children. It won’t entirely replace the in-school experience, but it might bring some familiarity to the home.

Source: Google

Josh Hendrickson Josh Hendrickson
Josh Hendrickson is the Editor in Chief of Review Geek and is responsible for the site's content direction. He has worked in IT for nearly a decade, including four years spent repairing and servicing computers for Microsoft. He’s also a smart home enthusiast who built his own smart mirror with just a frame, some electronics, a Raspberry Pi, and open-source code. Read Full Bio »