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Pretty Please mode

Contributor(s): Matthew Haughn

Pretty Please mode is a feature added to require the use of “please” and “thank you” in voice commands for Google Assistant as used on Android devices and Google Home.

This mode turns the normal command-driven interface into one involving civil requests. The feature was marketed as a way to encourage the development of manners in younger users so that the use of digital assistants, which lack emotion, doesn’t stunt their social development and ability to interact with people.

People with children among the first generation to grow up with digital assistants noticed that their children tended to become bossy, rude and demanding. Pretty Please mode is designed to mitigate the negative effects on socialization of children that heavily use virtual assistants. Google offers the feature as a means to reverse the negative effect the devices have on civility. Some users enable the feature to encourage politeness in themselves or the entire household.

Pretty Please mode requires an Android device for children. Parents must also get the Family Link parental control app from Google Play or App Store (parental control is available through Android and iOS). Each child requires an account, for which a small fee is charged to a credit card to verify the owner of the Google account. Google says fees are donated to a child protection organization.

While long term effects of the feature remain to be seen, some critics of the feature argue that it should be up to parents to explain the difference between commanding technology and requesting assistance from other autonomous beings.

This was last updated in July 2018

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