Sometimes, families are temporarily separated due to military deployment, work travel, and even unusual daily shifts. This is stressful for everyone involved, but more so for kids who rely on Dad's or Mom's bedtime story every night. That's why Google and Instrument have teamed up to create the third-party Assistant service My Storytime. It lets you record stories and then ask your Google or Nest Home devices to play them to your children. You can start using the free service today.

Once you've signed in to your Google account on the My Storytime website, it will ask you to record greetings and instructions for listeners, so they can hear your voice when they're navigating through your stories. Then you can start recording stories or add previously taped ones. It's also possible to download files you've produced on My Storytime. To start a listening session with your kids, say, "Hey Google, talk to My Storytime." If you want to hear or see a selection of all recorded stories, you can ask the Assistant, "What stories can we read?"

It's also possible to share recorded stories with family members and friends, but due to Instrument offering My Storytime as a third-party service, you can only share to people with Google accounts. Also, because of Google's child protection practices, the receiving party has to be 13 years or older. That means that you can't directly share stories with your kid — instead, you'll have to send them to your partner's or babysitter's account, because anyone using the service needs to pass Voice Match.

Since Google and Nest Home devices have been supporting story reading sessions with sound effects for quite some time already, it's only a natural next step to offer parents a way to read stories when they can't physically be with their kids. Of course, it would still be best if you could reach your child in person, but sometimes, that just not possible.