Google Assistant's Pretty Please helps your kids mind their manners

Your Google Home smart speaker can ask for the magic word when your kid gives it a command.

Andrew Gebhart Former senior producer
2 min read

Your smart speakers are ready to be polite.

Chris Monroe/CNET

Editors' Note, November 29, 2018: The Pretty Please feature is now rolling out to customers. The original piece on the announcement of the feature follows. 

If you're striving towards a more polite household, your Google Home smart speaker will soon have your back. Google announced a feature called Pretty Please at the Google I/O Developer Conference here on Tuesday that will cause your Google Home to respond positively to polite phrasing such as "please" and "thank you." Pretty Please will even prompt your child to say "the magic word" when they give a command.

Google Home is a smart speaker that responds to your voice commands through Google's digital assistant (just called Google Assistant). You can ask it to search the web, check your calendar, play music, control your smart home and more. Recently, Google has made a push to make Google Assistant more family friendly with games and activities created by partners such as Disney.

Watch this: Google Assistant can force your kid to say please and keeps the mic hot

Pretty Please is the latest extension of that effort. Cleverly, it uses Google Assistant's voice recognition to enforce manners only on selected members of your household. You can enable it for your own voice profile too if you want to help reinforce the message, but you don't have to. Supposedly, the feature will be conversational, so Google Home won't ask for a please after every question if your child wants more than one in a row.

The Pretty Please feature will roll out to Google's smart speakers -- such as Google Home, Google Home Mini and third-party speakers such as the JBL Link series -- starting this summer. You can enable the mode via the Google Home app. You'll need to create profiles for your children and they'll need to train Google to recognize their voice. It's a quick process that involves saying the wake words "Hey, Google" or "OK, Google" a few times in a row. Then, you'll be able to enable the feature for their profiles.

Amazon has a smart speaker specifically for kids -- called the Amazon Echo Dot Kids Edition -- that similarly offers positive reinforcement when kids use polite phrases to give commands. Amazon's assistant Alexa and Google Assistant have gone back and forth in a feature battle for over a year. 

Google's separating its version of a polite assistant by rolling the feature out to existing speakers, adding voice recognition, and making it stricter. We'll get to see if that actually makes it the better kid-friendly smart speaker later this summer. 

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