Halloween is just around the corner (in fact, it's tomorrow), and Google Home has added a slew of new commands that you can use to get into the spirit, and get a last minute costume. These new commands will work on all of the Google Home products, but some will only work on Google Home Hub, because it needs that display to really show you what's going on. And of course, having a visual there is always nicer, as you can see what's happening, instead of needing to use your imagination for everything. While the imagination is a powerful thing, having a screen showing you what's happening, makes the experience even better than before. The commands listed out down below all work as of right now, and should actually continue working all year long. Though they could disappear after Halloween is over, since you won't need them again until next year.
With the Google Home Hub, you can get face painting tutorials by saying something like "Hey Google, show me vampire face paint videos."So if you need to paint your child's face for their costume, Google Home Hub is going to be able to help you out. Now there are some other commands that will work on all the other Google Home products out there, like a choose-your-own-adventure scavenger hunt, by saying "Hey Google, trick or treat". This command will allow the user to enter a virtual haunted home of the Google Assistant, and then you can be a trick-or-treater that is seeking candy. But then Google Home discovers that the candy is missing, and it seeks help to find out which house guest took the candy. It's a bit like Clue, but in a Halloween-style scavenger hunt that is also visual. It's a pretty interesting adventure for Google Home to offer here.
Google Home can also provide you some monster facts, just say "Hey Google, share facts about monsters." Then Assistant will be able to reveal origins of some of the most popular monsters. Then it's a bit less of a mystery where these monsters came from. Now there is also another trick or treat command that will give you sound effects and guest appearances from famous monsters. Simply say "Hey Google, trick or treat" to activate it. There are a few other halloween commands available, like asking what a werewolf sounds like, what a ghost sounds like and you can even add halloween candy to your shopping list. Finally, if you haven't already figured out your Halloween costume, you can use the Google Assistant to do that. Google Assistant has a guided quiz that will help you pick out the perfect, unexpected costume this year. Though since Halloween is tomorrow night, you'll have to hurry.
Background: Halloween has been a holiday in the US for over a hundred years, starting in the early 1900s. It's the one time of year where kids are able to dress up as scary monsters and really get away with it. The holiday is all about fear, so you'll often times find plenty of haunted houses and new Halloween movies coming out around this time of year. Kids love the holiday as they get to dress up and go to strangers homes to ask for candy. The one time a year when kids are allowed to ask (and take) candy from strangers. It's a bit of a weird holiday since it isn't one that everyone gets off from work, and schools are even in session that day. And some years, like this year, it falls in the middle of the week, making it tougher for kids to stay out late to trick or treat.
This year, there has been a lot of talk about petitioning Halloween to be moved to the last Saturday in October. The reason for this is the fact that Halloween often times falls during the week, which means kids are out trick or treating on a school night, and their parents want to make sure they do get to bed at a reasonable hour, since they do need to go to school the following day. It makes a lot of sense for parents, but kids are so used to it being October 31, and it has always been that day. Since this is not a federal holiday, there's not much that can be done. But Halloween parties have been ongoing for the past two weeks, likely because of this reason.
Impact: Google Home is always adding in seasonal features and commands for the Google Assistant, as is the case with these Halloween commands. Part of that is because Google does want you to use the Assistant for everything. Whether that's having a pretty interesting Halloween, or helping pick out a costume or really anything else. And getting users to use the Google Assistant even more during these holidays means that they will likely use it more throughout the year, and that's Google's goals. Google wants the Assistant to be your personal assistant to do everything for you. These commands are available year long, but they really only matter at this time of year.
The best part about these commands is the fact that you don't even need to enable any skills like you would for Amazon Alexa, nor do you need to install any apps. It's all available right now, over the air. That's the beauty of Google Assistant, is that it just works. As long as it is connected to the internet, that is always an important part of Google Assistant. You can walk over to your Google Home and say any of those commands above right now and it'll work for you. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like it works for third-party Google Assistant speakers like the Sony LF-S50G, or the JBL LINK 20 speakers. So if you have an actual Google Home speaker or the Google Home Hub, it'll work fine, the third-party options, not so much. That should be coming in the near future though - maybe for next year's Halloween.