Some of Google Home's best features are the ones that are just for fun, like playing the "I'm feeling lucky" game show, listening to different animal sounds, and asking for interesting facts. Google is expanding on that repertoire with storytelling sound effects for certain Disney stories. Parents in the US can activate the new feature by saying "Hey Google, let's read along with Disney." Their Home device will then listen along and play appropriate sound effects and music for the chosen story, which can be selected from a library of 11, with more to come.
Google's library of Disney books includes some classics, as well as newer movie-related titles. Below, find the full list of Little Golden books supported (updated with new titles):
- Mickey's Christmas Carol
- The Three Little Pigs
- Alice in Wonderland
- Jack Jack Attack
- Mickey Mouse and his Spaceship
- Toy Story 3
- Peter Pan
- Mickey Mouse Goes Christmas Shopping
- Ara the Star Engineer
- Lion King
Google notes that if you have to skip ahead in the book, it will recognize and jump ahead (great for jumping over the too-scary section), and, if you pause, it will just play ambient music. No other commands are possible when the read-along feature is engaged, though. Also, because no one wants story time with their child to be recorded and kept in any way by a massive tech firm, Google promises it won't do that.
The feature works with Google Home, Google Home Mini, and Google Home Max in the US only.
Google has just updated its support docs to let us know that this read-along feature is now also available on the Google Home Hub.
It looks like Google's going to keep adding new selections to its list of books supporting this mode. Right now, it only has one new title to share, with Ara the Star Engineer now supporting read-along interactions.
So, remember how we saw those support docs updated to indicate Home Hub compatibility? Well, it turns out that's not so much the case; today Google reverted its list to remove the Home Hub.
We reached out to find out what the deal was and learned that the initial addition was made in error, and for the moment this feature isn't supported on the Google Home Hub. The good news is that not only is Home Hub support in the works, but this mode should be coming to the whole family of smart displays. Look for it to roll out sometime in the next few weeks.
We're still waiting for that Home Hub support, but in the meantime we've got some new content to help tide us over. Google has just updated its list of supported children's books with a group of four new Disney titles: Aladdin, The Lion King, Mulan, and Frozen.
Google has just updated its support page for this storytime mode to note that it now works with "any Google Home device or smart display." That jives with what we were told when we checked in about the Home Hub before, and beyond supporting Google's own smart display, compatibility's also coming to models from the likes of Lenovo and others.