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Google Assistant gets a jolly upgrade for the holidays

Michael Simon | Dec. 20, 2016
The virtual help gets a dose of Christmas cheer with a Santa tracker and holiday-themed jokes.

Christmas is coming, and Google Assistant is getting into the holiday spirit. Just in time for Santa’s arrival, the fun-loving virtual helper has been given an injection of good tidings in the form of a few seasonal responses.

Available across all instances of Google Assistant—Allo, Google Home, and the Pixel phones—the new commands will help you find Santa, have a good laugh or just get a dose of cheer. If you ask where Santa is, for example, it will tell you that he’s still chilling at the North Pole. Presumably it will provide a more specific location on the night before Christmas to match the Google Santa Tracker that also springs to life that night.

holiday assistant 2 Google

No matter your faith, Google Assistant will spread the holiday cheer.

In the meantime, you can ask it to tell you a holiday joke, delivering one of a variety of one-liners when prompted with either “Christmas joke” or “Santa joke.” Many of the puns are St. Nick related, though the occasional quip is more general, such as, “What did the smart phone say on January 1? Appy New Years!” (Insert emoji groan.)

For Jewish revelers, Google Assistant will also spin the dreidel on command, returning one of the four results when asked. And if you say “Happy Kwanza,” it will return the greeting and provide a fact about the holiday or wish you a happy lighting of the Kinara.

Why this matters: Google always has lots of fun at the holidays, so it’s no surprise that Google Assistant has gotten into the spirit. But it’s nice to see Google extend it to all Android phones through the Allo app, and not just its newer Pixel and Home devices.


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