I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but our favorite virtual helper loses some of its location-sensitive smarts.
Yes, oh yes: for unknown reasons Google is in the middle of silence to withdraw The Assistant’s ability to process reminders based on your physical location — you know, the “remind me to do something when I get to this place” kinds of commands that have long been possible on Android. It’s part of a broader reshuffle of Google’s features confusion campaign that appears to be put more emphasis about the company’s Tasks service and integration with other Google apps.
Blah, blah, blah – yadda, yadda, yadda. We could whine all day about the folly of this shift and the comic gold of Google’s never-ending flip-flop habit. And let’s face it, we almost certainly will one of these days. But not today, gersh dern it.
Today I want to turn our attention to some little-known location features that Assistant still has its grip on — because while it may lose that one location-related option, Assistant still boasts some powerful ways to interact with our whereabouts. It is up to you to realize that they are available and then to remember to use them.
Assistant Location Trick #1: The Self Location Spell
We’ll start with the simplest command of the bunch, but one that can be surprisingly helpful in the right situation. Clear your throat, practice your most beautiful fantasy voice, and say the following to your favorite Android phone:
Hey Google: where am I?
It may sound like the sign of an existential crisis, but that six-syllable incantation causes your Android home assistant to open a real map showing your exact current location. You can tap it to see it in full, tap it to get a swipe on your screen and make yourself look crazy, or utter a Keanu-esque “whoaaaaa” to let the Assistant know you’re taking large amounts of peyote ingested.
Assistant Location Trick #2: The Instant Sharing System
The next time you find yourself trying to meet up with a client, co-worker, or camel camouflaged as a friendly koala bear, remember this invaluable Assistant command:
Hey Google: share my location.
Those five words will make your invisible Android companion cough up a few contacts he thinks you might want to invite to your current spot. If it’s not the mammals you need, you can just say the name of the person you want to share with, provided they’re in your contacts – or you can tap the option on your screen at that point to choose another contact manually.
Once you do that, the Assistant sends a link to your chosen human and/or koala-masquerading camel, and they can see your exact whereabouts with just one tap of their finger/snoot.
Assistant Location Trick No. 3: The Ghost That Remembers the Place
We’ve saved the best for last today — especially if your noggin is as mushy as mine and just as ineffective at remembering even the most basic of information.
This last command is extremely useful for saving a specific location in the virtual brain of your Android phone and then letting you come back to it at any time in the future. I actually had no idea it existed until a few weeks ago when a question popped up in our Android Intelligence Platinum Community Help Desk that inspired me to do a little digging.
So dig this – all you need to remember are these six magic words:
Hey Google: remember where I parked.
Whether you’re really thinking about parking or trying to remember a location for another purpose, that command causes Assistant to store your current physical location in its huge virtual banks.
And if you want to find your way back, no matter how long it’s been, you can say Hey Google: Where’s my car? to get an interactive map to that same spot – or Hey Google: Navigate to My Car to go straight to a turn-by-turn navigation.
If you’d rather avoid the parking-specific jargon or save multiple locations at once, here’s another exceptional option – although it’s a bit more complicated. Warm up that thirsty throat of yours and sing the following, preferably with some over-the-top operatic flair:
Hey Google: remember this location.
That will cause the Assistant to ask you to give your current location a custom name – anything you can remember (“Meatball Central”, “My Happy Spot”, “That Place Where I Met the Creepy Camel”, etc.) . And then if you want to return to that area again, you can tell the Assistant to navigate to followed by the specific name you used.
And remember, if you really miss the Assistant’s location-based reminders, you can still make the same thing happen by creating a new note in Google Keep and setting your reminder there. It’s not as straightforward as the Voice Assistant command method — but hey, if there’s any consolation to be found here, it’s that Google is almost certainly shaking things up again and will soon be introducing another method to tackle that.
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