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Keep gets Google Now reminders

Ian Paul | Aug. 23, 2013
The Android version of Google Keep lets you set reminders based on location or time, a feature already enjoyed by users of Apple's Reminders app in iOS.

Finally, there's a Google product integration that everyone can love. A new version of Google Keep currently rolling for Android out brings Google Now reminders to the note-taking app.

As with Google Now and Apple's Reminders app, you can set Keep reminders based on location or time. So if you needed an alert to pick-up milk the next time you're at Safeway, Keep could ping you when you get near the store.

Taking Keep for a test drive
Adding a reminder in Keep is simple: Open up any note in the app, and tap the reminders button toward the bottom of the screen. You can then choose to set reminders by time or location.

You can set geofencing reminders by specific place such as a restaurant or store (as long as Google Maps knows about the location), or you can add a specific street address. Options for time-based reminders include setting a specific time like 3:25 p.m. or general times of the day such as morning, afternoon, and evening.

Using Keep reminders is a little more cumbersome than just firing up Google Now and dictating a reminder directly to your phone. But the downside of Google Now is that reminders just disappear into the ether once you've set them. (Well, that's not exactly true. You can find them by opening Google Now and tapping Menu, then Settings, then My Stuff, and finally, Reminders. The Keep app for Android, on the other hand, is only a few obvious taps away from the home screen and reminders are easily identifiable.

If you haven't got the new version of Keep for Android, the new reminders feature is also available on the Web-based version of Keep in Google Drive. During my tests, however, Google Keep on the Web didn't integrate properly with Google Now on my Android phone, which didn't have the updated Keep app.

Any Keep reminder I set on the Web did show up as a reminder in Google Now on my Nexus 4, but the reminder didn't trigger an alert on my phone at the appointed time. The reminder also didn't show up in my notifications pull-down drawer as it should have.

So unless you plan on having your Keep tab open all day, you'll have to wait for the new version of Keep to roll out to your Android device for Google Now reminders integration to be useful.

Still missing features
As we noted in May when Google Now reminders first rolled out, the Keep implementation is lacking some nice features Apple added to Reminders for iOS. You can't set reminders to repeat if you want to be alerted to take a pill every morning or to get to the gym before 5 p.m. each evening. You can use Google Calendar with repeating appointments for this, but repeat reminders would be more intuitive and convenient.


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