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How to donate to a charity with Google Assistant

How to donate to a charity with Google Assistant
[Photo: Thomas Kolnowski/Unsplash]

The next time you mention tuna salad in passing and then Google serves you an ad for tuna salad, try this petty revenge: “Hey, Google, donate $10 to the Electronic Frontier Foundation.”

Google Assistant has quietly introduced support for donations, according to 9to5 Google. That means that if you have a Google Home or some other form of Google Assistant with payments enabled (that bit is key), you now have an easy way to make a contribution to a worthy cause while you’re thinking about it, like when you read a news story about a tsunami, wildfire, or man-made disaster.

All you have to do is ask Google to “make a donation” or “donate money” to a charity in the United States, and your trusty Google Assistant will direct you to pick a monetary amount and a charity, which is routed to Network for Good, a nonprofit that processes donations for charities. For example, according to 9to5 Google, say, “Hey, Google, donate $10 to Red Cross,” and Assistant will ask would-be donors to confirm by saying either “donate now” or saying “yes.” Then a summary will include all the details of the transaction, including the official name of the charity, to make sure money is going to the right organization.

To ensure that your weak-willed children aren’t lured into spending all your hard-earned cash on charity cases by the dulcet tones of Sarah McLachlan, there are a few safeguards in place. Namely, donations have to be confirmed on your phone if donations were started through a smart speaker.

Donations on Assistant launched in early December, while Amazon’s Alexa launched a similar feature back in April 2018.

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