Google Assistant just got a great free productivity upgrade

Google Assistant finally gets the simple integration it should have had from day one

Google Home Mini
(Image credit: Google)

For all its many smart home joys, Google Assistant has had some odd omissions – such as its behaviour with reminders and tasks. At the moment, asking Google to remind you about something will put an alert into the Google Assistant app, but it doesn't add it to Google Tasks. Which, given that the whole purpose of Google Tasks is to remind you of stuff, is a pretty strange way of doing things.

That's finally changing. Google has announced (opens in new tab) that it's bringing Assistant Reminders to Google Tasks. As Google explains, "Just say, 'Hey Google, remind me to call dad every Thursday at 6pm' to your mobile or smart display and it will show up in your Tasks list, as well as on Google Calendar."

The bad news is that you'll need to wait a little longer before you can use the revised feature: it hasn't quite rolled out yet.

When will Google update Assistant to work with tasks?

According to Google, the changes will happen "in the coming months": when you create or view reminders in Assistant or Calendar, you'll be asked whether you want to try the new Tasks experience. If you respond positively, your reminders will be moved into Google Tasks so you can manage and sync them centrally on your phone or computer.

This is the kind of thing that makes you wonder why it didn't work that way from the start, but when it does roll out it'll definitely make things much simpler: Tasks are already integrated into Gmail, Google Chat and Google Calendar, so having your Assistant Reminders in there too is a much more sensible way of doing things.

It's particularly important for anyone who wants to use their Google apps and services for productivity: the thing about tasks, reminders and other time-managing tasks is that the less friction there is, the more likely you are to use them. Better Tasks integration might sound like a little upgrade when you read about it, but it'll make things work much more smoothly across your different apps and devices.

Writer, musician and broadcaster Carrie Marshall has been covering technology since 1998 and is particularly interested in how tech can help us live our best lives. Her CV is a who’s who of magazines, newspapers, websites and radio programmes ranging from T3, Techradar and MacFormat to the BBC, Sunday Post and People’s Friend. Carrie has written thirteen books, ghost-wrote two more and co-wrote another seven books and a Radio 2 documentary series. When she’s not scribbling, she’s the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR (havrmusic.com (opens in new tab)).