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Google Home updates may help you wind down at night

Digital wellbeing features appear to be coming to Assistant.
Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
September 9, 2018
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Nathan Ingraham / Engadget

While Google has yet to launch its digital wellbeing features on Android phones, it's already thinking of how to bring them to the smart speaker in your living room. The 9to5Google team has discovered material in the the latest Google app for Android that points to these digital health features coming to Home speakers and other Assistant-equipped devices. While the exact functionality isn't clear, there's a Downtime feature that could stop people from using Home at certain times of the day, such as when they're winding down at the end of the night. That could be particularly helpful if you have a bad habit of playing music or asking questions when you should be getting to bed.

"Filters," meanwhile, appears set to replace Family Mode and may limit what kids are allowed to search for, or prevent them from playing some voice-based games.

We wouldn't count on these features arriving in the near future given the unfinished state, and that's assuming Google doesn't cut the additions. It would make sense to extend these options in light of efforts to make speakers kid-friendly, though. Smart speakers like the Home line and Amazon's Echo already include features to promote good behavior, such as Assistant's Pretty Please option. This could teach children to leave smart speakers alone for a while and concentrate on the real people in the room. Of course, it could also be helpful for grown-ups who'd like some peace and quiet toward the end of the day.

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