“Hey Google, call Santa.” If you have a Google Assistant, that’s all your kid has to say phone, Mr. Claus, this Christmas. The new feature, added by Google on Thursday, lets you talk to Santa, along with a quirky elf named Gumdrop, while you listen to holiday tunes.
Here’s how it works: After giving the voice command, your kid’s call will be answered by Gumdrop, who will put you on hold because Santa, busy man that he is at this time of year, is busy recording a new song in the studio. Once you’re connected to Mr. Claus, he’ll ask you a series of fun questions to help him plan his annual Christmas concert, aptly named Elfstock. Your answers will determine which song the elf band will play for you at the end of the call.
The feature is enabled on all Smart Speakers and Smart Displays, as long as your kids are set up as users and voice matched to the Google Assistant. In addition to being able to call Santa Claus, your kids can also view the lyrics to popular Christmas songs or have the Google Assistant read them a holiday-themed story, like the popular “Mickey’s Christmas Carol.”
It’s just the latest in a long list of Santa-related technology that’s bringing Mr. Claus into the 21st century. Amazon’s smart speaker, Alexa, for instance, has a North Pole-phoning feature similar to that of Google’s that’s activated by saying, “Alexa, call Santa.”
For a more visual interactive experience, check out the Santa Tracker (also run by Google), which lets kids follow his journey around the world on Christmas Eve. Or try the NORAD Santa Tracker, which goes live on December 1 and features a cookie meter that tracks how many sweet treats Santa has eaten so far as he delivers his presents.