The holidays are approaching and while the younger folk look forward to days of no school or merry-making, some people look at their calendar with dread. Planning gifts, thinking of recipes, or even just keeping the kids entertained, all these burden the mind and sometimes induce stress rather than happiness. Thankfully, we’re in the 21st century and we have things like Google Assistant, smartphones, smart speakers, and smart displays to make our holidays, and our lives, easier.

Not sure what to prepare for today’s fantastic meal? Whether it’s just for yourself or for your extended family as well, Google Assistant on Smart Displays like the Google Home Hub will pop up the right recipe for the occasion or, more importantly, for the time of day. No more roasted turkey suggestions for breakfast. And you’ll see those recommendations right from your home screen so you won’t even have to ask.

Google Assistant will also learn from your previous searched recipes so that it will know not to suggest anything you’re allergic to or hate with a passion. And when you chance upon something you’ve fallen in love with (and cooked to perfection), you can save them to your personal cookbook for future reference.

But wait, you suddenly realize you’re short on supplies. So you rush out to buy some but forgot to tell the people back at home not to touch the pie. If that happens a few weeks from now, you can rest assured that the new Google Assistant broadcast feature will not only let you send a warning through all smart speakers and smart displays in the house, they will also be able to reply to you from those devices. And you can even respond back. So yeah, two-way communication, no hands or phones (except yours) involved.

You’re back at home and need to keep the kids entertained while dinner’s cooking. You can let them play on their own (safely) and set up a new alarm to remind them to pick up the toys after an hour. These alarms come in the voices and personalities of popular LEGO characters as well as those from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Want to be more “voice-on”? Pick up the new “Ara the Star Engineer” book and ask Google Assistant to read along, playing perfectly timed sound effects as you enchant kids with the real-life stories of women engineers. No book? No problem with Google Assistants upcoming 25 new family-friendly stories, including Dora the Explorer’s “Dora’s Super Sleepover”.

For your own sanity, you might listen to your own podcasts away from the living room. Believe it or not, some like listening to those at twice the speed. You can now do that too, asking Google Assistant to play it faster and get through your queue faster too.

And when the day’s finally done, you might want to set up an alarm to wake up early tomorrow. What you might not want to do is to have to drag your feet to turn on lights, start the coffee maker, or even just ask Google about the weather. Good thing then, that you can finally add custom routines to alarms in Android’s Clock app so that Google Assistant can do all that for you. And just before losing consciousness, just ask it to silence your phone and it will soon be able to silence all connected smart speakers as well for a peaceful, undisturbed slumber.

These new features are coming in the next days and weeks to Google Assistant-powered phones, speakers and displays. And while their timing for the holidays is perfect, they can definitely make your everyday life be less stressful by being a lot smarter about the things you don’t have to do yourself.

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