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Google Assistant wants to improve working from home during the pandemic

Published Sep 23rd, 2020 1:39PM EDT
Google Assistant Routines
Image: Google

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  • Google announced a new Google Assistant feature that can help people who are still working from home during the novel coronavirus pandemic.
  • A new routine will focus on the user’s workday, reminding them of everything that’s supposed to happen during the day. The feature is customizable, so users can set their own breaks and schedules, in an attempt to mimic the regular breaks that happen naturally at the office.
  • Google is also rolling out a new Gentle Sleep and Wake feature that will let you coordinate smart lights with bedtime schedules and morning alarms.

Google announced new Google Assistant features on Wednesday that should help people adjust to working from home during the novel coronavirus pandemic. “While many of us are fortunate enough to be able to work from home during the pandemic, there’s something to be said about the in-office environment that breaks up the day,” Google said in a blog post. “Simple things like mid-morning coffee breaks to recharge or catching up with coworkers on the way to a meeting are definitely missed.”

Google might not be able to recreate regular office work, but it has devised new Google Assistant features to help you “fight the ‘blur’ that can happen when you work from home.”

Google is rolling out a new work routine for Google Assistant that will remind users of all the things happening at work whether they’re small or big. The new routine will be available on both Android and iPhone and can be enabled in the settings. Here’s what the work from home Google Assistant routine may look like:

For example, every Monday through Friday at 10:00 AM, you’ll get a message from Google Assistant on your smart speaker or display saying “it’s time to stand up and stretch!” At 2:00 p.m., it might suggest going for a walk, and then to grab a glass of water at 3:00 p.m. Finally, at 4:45 PM, you’ll be reminded to start wrapping things up. Assistant will also regularly share the time with you throughout the day so that you don’t lose track of upcoming meetings.

There’s plenty of room to customize the actions and time blocks to fit your schedule, but the routine will be available initially only in English.

Google Assistant
Google released a new Google Assistant Routine for working from home during the coronavirus pandemic. Image source: Google

Google also reminds users that the Assistant lets you add new entries to your calendar, start to-do lists, and set reminders all via voice while you’re working from home. The Assistant can help you remember important events, whether it’s an anniversary, meeting, or Wi-Fi password. Google Assistant also lets you turn on Do Not Disturb mode via a simple command: “Hey Google, silence my phone.”

Google Assistant
Animation shows an example of the new Google Assistant Routine for working from home during the coronavirus pandemic. Image source: Google

In the coming days, Google will roll out new functionality that might improve your sleeping habits. Gentle Sleep and Wake are among the new features that can be applied to smart lights. You can issue a command like “Hey Google, sleep my lights at 10:00 PM” at night as a reminder to go to bed on time, and the lights will wind down. They’ll be turned on again in the morning at the desired time — the command is “Hey Google, wake my lights at 8:00 AM.” Users who have Google Assistant alarms already can say “Turn on Gentle Wake Up” so that smart lights start brightening 30 minutes before your alarm goes off.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.