Set location-based reminders with your voice on Google Home

Google Assistant Routines feature arrives multiple actions with a single phrase

Google will be starting with six specific routines according to the company's support page on the topic with "Good morning", "Bedtime", "Leaving home", "I'm home", "Commuting to work", and "Commuting home" being the phrases you'll get to stylize. For example, "Hey Google, remind me to pick up some bacon at Wal Mart" will trigger a notification only when you're around a Wal Mart, while "Hey Google, remind me to pick up flowers from the florist" will trigger when you're near any florist. That particular command could: take your phone off silent; adjust lights, plugs, thermostats and more products to a certain setting; tell you about the day's weather, commute, calendar, or reminders; and adjust media volume. That's available free from the App Store.

Previously, users were only able to set location-based reminders on their phones and not on Google Home devices. Why is this significant amidst the constant stream of updates to "smart" speaker offerings we hear you ask?

There are some limits, it seems, however. You can also specify the kind of store, like a Walmart or a Starbucks. You can't, in our testing today, say that you need to collect clothes from a named dry cleaners, for instance.

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This is where we get to one of Alexa's frustrating user experiences in that you have to enable the Follow-up Mode manually. It can also be used to set reminders not related to shopping, for example, "Hey Google, remind me to drop the cheque off at the bank".

That's all likely to improve as time goes on, and as the Assistant learns to differentiate more accurately.