Google has taken the world of
reminders and injected it with a serious dose of adrenaline. By using the Google Now voice command system, you can quickly create
reminders to help keep your busy life on schedule. But the reminder
system is far more powerful than just “Okay Google Now, remind me to buy milk.” With the latest iteration of Google Now, you can also create location-based
reminders, recurring reminders, and more. The best part is that this process is
incredibly easy.

Let’s walk through the
process of creating reminders using the Google Now system. I’ll be
demonstrating on a Verizon-branded Motorola Moto X with Android 4.4. The steps
for other handsets will vary slightly.

First, the setup process

In order to make use of this system,
it must be configured properly. You’ll also need to make sure you have the
latest version of Google Search from the Play Store. To update
this app, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Google Play Store
  2. Search for “google search”
  3. Tap the entry for Google Search
  4. Tap Update
  5. Tap Accept
  6. Allow the update to complete

 Now that Google Search is updated to the
latest version, here’s how to configure the system:

  1. Open the Settings app
  2. Locate Touchless Control
  3. Make sure Touchless Control is enabled (Figure A)
  4. Make sure Launch phrase sound is enabled

Figure A



The Touchless Control settings

If this is your first time using
Touchless Control, you’ll need to walk through the Train launch phrase wizard, which will help train Google Search to your voice (you’ll need to be in a
quiet room to complete this). Here’s how:

  1. Open the Settings app
  2. Locate Touchless Control
  3. Tap Train launch phrase
  4. Say “Okay Google Now” when prompted (you’ll do this
    three times)

When you’re finished, you can tap Done or speak the launch
phrase (Okay Google Now) and then say “help me” to get a list of what you can
do with the command.

Next, the reminders

With Google Now set up, it’s time
to start creating reminders. Let’s say you need a reminder to call your wife or husband when you get home. This will create a reminder that actually reminds you to
place the phone call when you arrive at the destination that you’ve configured as
home (this is done through the Maps application in Settings | Edit home or
work). To set this reminder, I would say:

Google Now remind me to call Stephanie at home

Notice I do not say “…call
Stephanie when I get home.” If you use
“when,” Google Now creates a time-based reminder. Of course, if you have
multiple Stephanie entries in your contacts, you would specify a last name. When the reminder goes off, if you have multiple phone numbers associated with a contact, (such as home, mobile, and work), you can specify it at that time.

Once Google Now creates the
reminder, you actually have to tap Remind me at this place to save the

Let’s say you want to create a
recurring reminder. For instance, you want to set up a reminder to pick up your
kids every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 6:00 PM. To do this, say:

Google Now remind me to pick up the kids every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at
6 PM.

You could even add a location to
that reminder (which will add a map to the reminder and give you directions, if
needed). You’ll be surprised at how accurate Google Now is at recognizing
regular speech patterns (Figure B).

Figure B



Google Now easily recognizes
regular speech patterns.

Google Now can also set contextual,
time-based reminders like so:

Google Now remind me to pay the phone bill next Friday

You can even add locations to a
reminder. If Google Maps recognizes a landmark, you can add it by name — otherwise, you must add it using the address. This works great:

Google Now remind me to buy toilet paper at Target

Say Google Maps locates Target, but
there are multiple locations. You can set a specific location from the Reminder
setup page. Once you speak the command, the setup page will appear. Before you
tap Remind me at this place, tap the All locations drop-down, and then tap the
specific location you want (Figure C).

Figure C



Setting a specific location for a

Sometimes, I’ve been lucky, and the
All locations worked in such a way that when I arrived at one of the listed
locations, the reminder was set off. This isn’t always accurate, so you might
want to set the specific location when possible.

The Google Now reminder system is
an amazing tool for keeping you reminded of important things. The only downfall of the hands-free action with Google Now is that it’s
not 100% hands-free. If Google added a sub-command, like “set
reminder,” to make this system a completely hands-free task, Google Now
reminders would be the perfect solution for on-the-go users. However, as is, it’s still
pretty terrific.

How do you use the Google Now reminder system to keep track of your tasks? If you don’t use Google Now reminders, what’s preventing it from becoming your default reminder tool? Share your thoughts in the discussion thread below.