Google Home now supports reminders through an update today and there is nice integration with Google Assistant on iOS and Android mobile devices. Engadget is reporting that the feature is supported in English language in Australia, Canada, UK, and U.S. markets and will be coming to French soon. Amazon introduced this feature in June, but the interplay between Google Home and Google Assistant is a more elegant implementation. Then again, the Amazon Echo Show reminder display is also pretty good and something Google doesn’t yet have. What both of these have in common is multi-modal distribution.
Multi-Turn or Complex Reminder Setting
Like the Alexa implementation. Google Home reminders can be made as a single compound request or you will be asked to fill in missing information. To set a reminder, Google needs to know:
- What you want to be reminded of
- What day
- What time
You can do this by simply stating:
You: Hey Google, set a reminder to walk the dog at 5:55 pm today.
Google Home / Assistant (GA): Your reminder for ‘walk the dog at 5:55 pm today’ is ready. Do you want to save it?
GA: Alright. Reminder saved.
If you leave any part out, Google Assistant will simply ask you for that information and then repeat the reminder and ask you if you want to save it. This works very much like Alexa and Siri with the exception that Google always asks you to confirm that you want to save the reminder. This seems like an unnecessary step, but it is not overly burdensome.
Google Assistant Integration is Nice
I tested this new feature on Google Home and with Google Assistant for iOS. Information on the Google Home support forum indicates that the iOS and Android functionality is nearly identical.
The Google Assistant integration means you get notifications on your mobile device as well as on your Google Home. On Google Assistant you will see an iOS notification and can view reminders by asking for them. Google Home plays an audible tone and lights one of the lights on top of the device when you have a notification pending. You can dismiss, cancel or mark as complete notifications by voice in both Google Home and Google Assistant and by touch in the latter. When you set your reminder through either interface, it is automatically synched with the other. That is the elegance of the Google architecture even though it seems a bit cumbersome in some settings.
Multi-Model Shines with Reminders
Reminders are a small feature, but have a good deal of utility. The winner of the Devpost Alexa skills contest implemented a text based reminder and Life Bot said it is the most used feature. The feature also demonstrates how nicely multi-modal interfaces can enhance a user experience. Integration with mobile is an obvious benefit since you are not always near a Google Home to get your reminder. The notification both on the lock screen and in the Google Assistant app work nicely. A similar statement can be made about the display for notifications on Echo Show. Having reminders available on multiple devices and alerts in multiple modes illustrates how multi-modal will increasingly become viewed as an essential feature for many use cases.