While reminders are nothing new for Google Assistant, the Family Bell feature focuses on keeping your family on track. Instead of just a standard reminder, an alarm sounds, much like a bell. This will grab anyone’s attention, ensuring they check to see what they need to do.
The idea stems from parents and kids trying to manage their time more effectively while staying at home during the pandemic. As you may expect, part of the purpose is to ensure kids keep a structured schedule when attending classes at home. Of course, you can set all types of loud, nagging reminders to create better daily routines.
How It Works
Google rolled out Family Bell as a way to help families get ready for the new school year. In keeping with a school theme, Family Bells go off like school bells to let kids and adults know when it’s time to do something. Some of the presets include things like recess, math, start of school day, read, study, and eat breakfast.
While there are some presets to help you get started quickly, you can customize bells to your needs. They don’t have to be school-related. Use them to remind you of daily tasks, such as taking medications, video conferencing when working remotely, and reminding you to take lunch versus working all day.
You can set the bells to go off daily or just on certain days. These are recurring reminders to help your family stay on track with daily and weekly routines. The best part is you can send these bells to specific devices on all devices at once. Not only will a bell sound, but you’ll hear the purpose of the bell, such as “time to study” or “time for lunch.”
If you have multiple kids with different activities throughout the day, sending the bells to the individual kids’ devices works well. All you need is a Google Assistant device.
If you have a Google Assistant-enabled smart display, you can say “Hey Google, start the school day” to see a school-themed visual along with the common sounds you’d hear at a busy school.
Google is currently rolling the feature out in English only in the United States, Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, and India. If you don’t have it just yet, keep checking for updates to your Google Home or Google Assistant app as it should be available soon.
Setting Up Bell Announcements
There are two ways to set up Family Bell announcements. Either say “Hey Google, create a Family Bell” or use the Google Home app. For the purpose of this tutorial, I’ll walk you through using the app.
Open the Google Home app and tap your profile image at the top right, then tap “Assistant Settings.”
Tap the Assistant tab.
Choose “Family Bell.”
Tap the blue “Add a bell” button or add one of the preexisting bells at the bottom of the screen.
Simply scroll to see more pre-made bells. You can customize the schedule to your needs.
When you customize or add a new Family Bell, you’ll need to give the bell a name, choose a time, which days it will sound, and which speaker(s) it’s sent to.
All your existing bells show up in the Family Bell area of the Assistant Settings.
Managing Family Bell Announcements
Want to temporarily disable a bell, edit a bell, or delete one? In the Family Bell area of your Google Home app, tap the down arrow next to a bell to edit the details. Or, turn it on/off by tapping on the top right of the bell to toggle it on and off.
You can create as many of these as you need for your family. If you’re trying to make home feel more like school, these bells may help to remind parents and kids when to change subjects, take breaks, and have study time. This also works well for daily routine tasks and if you’re working from home.
Meanwhile, also check out some other ways Google Assistant can make you more productive.