Hands-on with Google Assistant’s in-development “Memory” feature for saving reminders

The Google Assistant is loaded with features to manage your digital life, and it’s soon about to get another feature that’ll make it even easier to remember things you need to do. Called “Memory,” the new feature is billed as “an easy way to save and find your stuff.” We detailed this feature in an app teardown nearly two weeks ago, but because the feature is shaping up to be a big one, we wanted to do a more thorough showcase of what it looks like right now. Keep in mind that it’s still in development, so the UI may change before release.

An APK teardown can often predict features that may arrive in a future update of an application, but it is possible that any of the features we mention here may not make it in a future release. This is because these features are currently unimplemented in the live build and may be pulled at any time by the developers in a future build.

“Memory” is an upcoming feature of the Google Assistant that expands upon the existing “Reminders” functionality. Currently, you can ask the Assistant to remind you of something by saying, “Hey Google, remind me to…” followed by the reminder. You can also set a time or a place for when or where you want to be reminded, and you can even set the reminder to repeat if it’s a recurring thing. The Google Assistant’s barebones “Reminders” interface only lets you view or create a new reminder but doesn’t allow you to organize them. For better management of your reminders, it’s probably worth using an app like Google Keep instead. However, once Google Assistant’s new “Memory” feature rolls out, you won’t have to use a separate app to make and organize reminders.

When you open the “Memory” interface for the first time, you’re prompted to add a shortcut to the home screen. Currently, the Memory shortcut logo has a paw print icon embedded in it since the feature is being dogfooded (i.e., tested) by Googlers internally. Once you dismiss the home screen shortcut prompt, you’re met with an interface that’s very similar to other parts of Google Assistant. There’s a large search bar up top, small bubble filter labels below the search bar, and large cards for each note. Between the filter labels and the cards is a small area showing the current date, number of memories, and an overflow menu containing a “Settings” and “Trash” button. The Settings button opens up a dialog that asks if you want to save your device’s location every time you create a new note, while the Trash button opens up a page with all of your deleted notes.

The Trash page, like the main home page, displays notes in large cards. Notes can be trashed from the main screen by swiping either left or right, and they can be restored by tapping the “Restore” button on the Trash page.

If you have lots of reminders to sift through, you can use the search interface to find a note with a particular title. You can also filter by date or attachments if you’re looking for a reminder set on a certain date or with a file attached like a screenshot or a document.

If you’ve previously asked Google Assistant to remember something, it’ll show up in “Memory” as part of the “Older Memories” section. This is helpful as it doesn’t require active knowledge of the feature for a reminder to be later organized within the “Memory” interface. Simply tap on “Edit” to add the note to a “topic” or tap “Share” to send the note to another app or person. There are a few premade Topics like “Important” and “Read later,” but you can easily create your own Topic at any time.

Lastly, any reminder/note you add can be edited after creation. When editing, you can see when a note was originally created, when it was last edited, what topic it’s a part of, and when the reminder will alert you. If you find yourself checking a particular topic very often, you can add it to the home screen for quicker access.

Google’s services tend to have a lot of overlap (e.g., Chrome has a Read later list and Keep can also organize notes and reminders), but it’s nice to see that Google Assistant is adding these features so there’s another way users can enjoy them. Hopefully, this feature isn’t restricted to just personal Google accounts when it launches. Since Reminders do work for enterprise users, we don’t see any reason why “Memory” wouldn’t work since it’s merely an extension of existing functionality. But, you never really know when it comes to the rollout of new Google Assistant features.

Google Assistant - Get things done, hands-freeGoogle Assistant - Get things done, hands-free
Google Assistant - Get things done, hands-freeGoogle Assistant - Get things done, hands-free
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Thanks to PNF Software for providing us a license to use JEB Decompiler, a professional-grade reverse engineering tool for Android applications.