<< All News Monday, March 21, 2022 Categories:
All News Items
Assistive Technology

by David Olson, NDVS/SB Information Technology

Do you ever feel as if you have lost time or are on a last-minute dash to complete tasks? If you would appreciate audible reminders, Google Family Bell may be a useful feature for your Android devices, which include the Smart Speaker, Smart Display, or Android Phone.

Google Home added Family Bell reminders so that family members can add personalized voiced reminders throughout the day that announce when it’s time to start an online class, work on a task, take a break, settle in for reading time, have a snack, go to bed, or give any other reminder that a person may need. 

To get started, simply say “Hey Google, create a Family Bell” or select Family Bell in your Google Assistant settings. It includes suggested bells for activities like recess, nap time, or math time, or you can customize bells to alert someone of an upcoming activity.

What we have found works well is creating a bell for a scheduled item ahead of time for practice or repeatable tasks to remember things that can often be forgotten or fall behind. They can be set for any period of time, and can be set on a recurring basis, such as daily, weekly, or monthly. They are ideal for people who may have a visual impairment as there is nothing to “see” – the reminder is instead audible.

“Hey Google, create a Family Bell” will remind you or a family member to:
•    get ready for the bus or an upcoming class 
•    work on journaling or a class project that many times gets forgotten or left to the last second (we all procrastinate sometimes!)
•    go for a walk or take a break

How is Family Bell different from a calendar or an alarm? An alarm is a very generic buzz or bell that does not present us with a voiced notification. When Family Bell rings, it prompts the listener with a recorded, personalized voice. For example, I could set a Family Bell that says, “Dave, Brooke has writing and journaling tonight at 7:30.” It can ring on my phone and home devices any time before the event. It really keeps things fresh in the mind and everyone on task.

How is Family Bell different from a calendar event? A calendar event can often be forgotten or ignored as it sometimes does not gain your attention at the right time. Family Bell reminds you of the upcoming event or task with both a bell and a voice.

If you are interested in trying it out, you may already have all the tools on your Samsung, Moto, or Android phone already. If you have a Google Home or mini, it’s a fun addition to the home.

The link below will take you to the guide for Family Bell from Google:
Set up Family Bell announcements for your speaker, Smart Display, or mobile device - Android - Google Assistant Help

For more of a step-by-step guide, “Make Use Of” has a great article on setup:
How to Set Up Family Bell on Your Google Nest or Google Home Speaker (makeuseof.com)

If you have any questions about Google Family Bell, feel free to reach out to the Tech Department at ND Vision Services/School for the Blind by calling 701-795-2700 or email me, davidolson@nd.gov.

<< All News