I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but our favorite virtual helper loses some of its smart location detection capabilities.
Yes, oh yes: For reasons unknown, Google is in the process of quietly retiring Assistant’s ability to handle reminders based on your physical location — you know, the kind of commands that remind me to do something when I’m on arrive in this place have long been possible on Android. It’s part of a bigger one
confusion campaign realignment from Google functions that seems to place more emphasis on the company’s Tasks service and its integration with other Google apps.
Blah, blah, blah – Yadda, Yadda, Yadda. We can whine all day at the stupidity of this shift and the comedic gold of Google’s never-ending flip-flop habit. And let’s be honest: we almost certainly will one day. But not today, gersh dern it.
Today I want to turn our focus to some little-known location features of the assistant quiet handles – because while it may lose that one location-based option, Assistant still has some powerful ways to interact with our whereabouts. It’s just up to you to recognize that they are available and then remember to use them.
Assist Locator Trick #1: The Self Locator Spell
We’ll start with the simplest command of the bunch, but one that can be surprisingly useful in the right situation. Clear your throat, practice your most beautiful voice and say the following to your favorite Android phone:
Hey Google: Where am I?
It might sound like the sign of an existential crisis, but this six-syllable incantation prompts your Android Assistant to display an actual map with your exact current location. You can tap it to view it in full, smack it to leave a smudge on your screen and make yourself look goofy, or say a Keanu-like “whoaaaaa” to let the assistant know you’ve got large amounts of peyote have recorded.
Assistant Locator Trick #2: The Instant Sharing System
The next time you try to meet up with a client, a colleague, or a camel disguised as a friendly koala, remember this invaluable assistant command:
Hey Google: share my location.
These five words will cause your invisible android companion to spit out a few contacts that it thinks you’d like to invite to your current place. If it’s not the mammals you need, you can just say the name of the person you want to share with, assuming they’re in your contacts — or you can tap the option on your screen at that moment to select another contact manually.
Once you’ve done that, the assistant will send a link to the human and/or koala masking camel you’ve selected, and they can see your exact whereabouts with just another tap/snout.
Assistant location trick #3: The mind that remembers places
Today we’ve saved the best for last—especially if your noggin is as squishy as mine and ineffective at remembering even the most basic information.
This last command is extremely useful for saving a specific location in your Android phone’s virtual brains, and then helping you return there at a later time. I had no idea it even existed until a few weeks ago, when a question popped up on 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 actually thinking about parking, or trying to remember a location for some other purpose, this command will cause Assistant to save your current physical location in its huge virtual banks.
And you can say when you want to find your way back to him, no matter how long ago it was Hey Google, where’s my car? to get an interactive map of the same place – or Hey Google: Navigate to my car to jump directly to a step-by-step navigation.
If you’d rather avoid the parking lot-specific jargon or store several At the same time, you have another exceptional option here – although it is one a little more complex. Warm up your thirsty throat and sing the following, preferably with some over-the-top operatic flair:
Hey Google: remember this place.
This will have the wizard prompt you to give your current location a custom name – anything you can remember (“Meatball Central”, “My Happy Spot”, “The Place Where I Met the Creepy Camel”, etc.). And if you then want to return to that area, you can ask the wizard to do so navigate to followed by the specific name you used.
And remember, if you really miss Assistant’s location-based reminders, you can achieve the same thing by creating a new note in Google Keep and then setting up your reminder there. It’s not quite as easy as the spoken assistant’s command method – but hey, if there’s any consolation here, Google will almost certainly shake things up and introduce some Miscellaneous method for dealing with it soon.
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