John Lewis creates in-store Google smart home

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Other children-focused additions to the Google Assistant skill set include a "direct line to the North Pole" for an interactive little Christmas-themed game and, most notably, Google Home sound effects and music for an extra-magical storytelling experience.

The Google Assistant is always learning new ways to help. The feature would work only if you have a Google Play Music subscription.

Another Amazon feature that Google, er, paid homage to is "Pretty Please". Google found that kids were demanding the Assistant to do things, and forgetting their manners, so to help parents out, they'll need to say please and thank you to the Assistant. Simply pop it into an outlet, plug in your devices, then use the Smart Life app, Alexa, or Google Assistant to control them. Users will be able to view and learn the words of their favorite Christmas songs on the Google Home Hub's screen or on any other smart display device they might have around the house.

If you've splurged for a Google Home speaker or Smart Display over the Black Friday/Cyber Monday madness, you'll be glad to know they're getting new features soon, some of which are coming just in time for the holidays.

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At this price, Google Home just got even more magical. You can now say "Hey Google, Call Santa" and follow along. There are 50 titles to choose from including Beauty and the Beats, Cinderella and Dora's Super Sleepover. For example, all you have to say is "Hey Google, let's read along with Mickey's Christmas Carol". Top of the list is what Google's calling "visual lyrics".

Google is also rolling out certain family-centered functionalities such as read-along stories from Disney. That means you can create, say, a gift list, then forget about it until you keep in mind to add extra items, when you can just bring the list back and easily update it using nothing but voice commands.

Celebrating the Christmas season, the Google Assistant has received an update to the Call Santa feature.

Touch Alarms: Swipe up from the home screen and tap the new timer button to set an alarm. Pretty useful for quick timers and whatnot. Google's weather service must be down, because no matter which location you ask about for weather info, you get a zero-degree forecast.

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