Google has introduced a new tool called ‘My Storytime’ that enables parents to read stories to their children even if they’re in a different location. The feature works with the new My Storytime website, where adults can upload audio recordings of themselves reading a story. When requested, a Google smart speaker will play this audio, enabling distant parents to stay connected with their kids in a unique way.
Put simply, My Storytime is a feature where anyone can upload pre-recorded stories they’ve read for access through Google Assistant. Uploading the stories involves the My Storytime website, where users are required to sign in with their Google account — obviously it will need to be the same one linked to the Google Nest speaker through which the audio will be accessed.
Once the audio is uploaded, a child can say to Google Assistant, “Hey Google, talk to My Storytime.” This will trigger the playback of the uploaded audio story. The feature was created so that distant parents — such as military members deployed overseas or parents who work nights — can still tell their kids a bedtime story.
More than one story can be uploaded, in which case the child can ask, “What stories can we read?” The uploaded audio must be in the MP3 format, which is the most common audio format used for saving recordings. For most people, making these recordings is as simple as using the Voice Recorder app installed on their smartphone.
The stories are only available on the Google account to which they were uploaded; as well, the user has the option of permanently deleting them, which will result in the audio files being removed from the database. The audio content is not backed up. As well, users can download the audio files whenever they’d like, assuming they haven’t been deleted.
Note that the feature will not work if it is used with a Google account that is registered to a child who is under 13 years old. This is due to the privacy protections in place for children; instead, the user would need to share the audio with the adult who manages the child’s account.