Android Self Improvement

8 Amazing, Life-Improving Uses for Google Now Reminders

Ryan Dube 23-02-2016

If you own a modern Android phone, the odds are pretty good that you’ve stumbled across Google Now in the form of voice commands. But, built into Google Now is a reminder system that is far more functional and useful than you might realize.


Starting with Android 4.4 KitKat, Google Now was built into the standard home screen launcher. If it isn’t built-in on your device, you can get the latest version of Google Now by installing the Google app from Google Play.

In the past here at MakeUseOf, we’ve shown how Google Now can enhance your web searches 6 Google Now Features That Will Change How You Search You may already be using Google Now on your Android device, but are you getting all that you can out of it? Knowing about these small features can make a big difference. Read More , allow you to use your phone hands-free Do Everything in the Car Hands Free With Google Now You don't have to text and drive. In fact, you can do a lot with only your voice while driving -- even more than texting! Read More in the car, and do lots of other cool things Google Now Knows Where You Parked, Gets Offline Cards, And More The Android Google Search app has been updated, and tucked inside it are some pretty awesome tweaks to Google Now that add quite a bit of usefulness to Google's personal assistant. Read More . But you may be surprised just how much Google Now reminders can enhance your life.

How Google Now Reminders Work

In the upper left corner of the Google app, you’ll find the menu icon where you can manually trigger the Reminders feature.


You can kick off the reminder card using either the menu option, or you can just speak or type “remind me…” followed by the reminder.


For example, if you want to remember to hit the gym 7 Best YouTube Workout Channels To Exercise at Home Home gyms and personal trainers help the moneyed get up straight from their beds and hit the gym. We lesser mortals have to call on our powers of self-motivation and discipline to trudge the few... Read More in the morning, you can say, “remind me to go to the gym in the morning tomorrow”.


In the example above, I reminded myself to order home heating oil from our local heating oil company called Downeast Energy by telling my phone, “remind me to call downeast energy on Monday at 4”.

Don’t make the same mistake I did above. Remember, Google Now works on military time, so remember to say “four PM” not “four” if you mean evening hours. “Four” will be four in the morning.


Google Now will then issue notification reminders both in the Google Now stream of cards, and in your phone’s list of notifications.


So those are the basics. Let’s get to the more interesting stuff.

1. Set Recurring Reminders

Google Now reminders are a whole lot more flexible than just creating simple (and might I say boring) reminders. Maybe you need Google Now to issue recurring reminders about something every month, week, or several times a week. That flexibility is built-in.


All you have to say is something like, “remind me I have a meeting every Tuesday and Thursday at 7:30”.


With the one statement, you’ll have a virtual assistant who will remind you as frequently as you like.

2. Set Location-Based Reminders

It gets even cooler though. Google Now includes integration with either GPS or network location services, so that it can remind you about things not only based on time, but based on where you’re located.


Here’s an example: Whenever I’m at work, I always have a list of things to do on my way home, like get an oil change or fill up the tank. All too often, once I’m actually on my way home, I forget.

With Google Now, I can just say, “remind me when I get to Sanford, Maine to refuel the car”.


Google Now will know when I’ve entered the town that I pass on my way home, and my phone will issue the reminder.

This is insanely useful for the locations of Home and Work that you’ve configured into your Google Now account. You can ask Google Now to remind you to do the most important tasks the moment you arrive.

For example, if you have a really important issue to talk to the boss about first thing in the morning and you don’t want to forget, you can say, “remind me when I get to work to talk to the boss”.


Google Now knows via geo-location services when you’ve arrived at your “Work” location, and the reminder to talk to your boss will appear at the top of your Google Now notification list.

3. Find Your Parking Spot

In my opinion, the single most useful location-based reminder is Google Now’s automatic parking location reminder. Google Now magically recognizes when you were in a moving car that was recently parked. It identifies the location that you parked and posts the parking location reminder How to Set Up Location Alerts in iPhone Reminders Here's how to set up location alerts on your iPhone using the Reminders app, as well as IFTTT for more control and automation. Read More at the top of your Google Now notification list.


Honestly, the first time it did this for me, I thought it was like dark magic. It’s a little creepy, but after a few times when it actually saved me a lot of time finding my car in a huge parking lot, I realized just how valuable this Google Now reminder is.

4. Be Notified of Upcoming Reservations

What’s really amazing about Google Now are some of the reminders that you don’t even have to set up. One example is when you make reservations with any hotel.

Google Now identifies your reservation confirmation via your Gmail account, and it’ll remind you when you have an upcoming reservation with an “Upcoming trip” card.


5. Include Links in Your Reminders

Other little-known, but useful features of Google Now are really handy. One of those is the ability to include web links with your reminders. For example, if I want to schedule a date with the wife to watch Netflix on Friday night, I can include a link to the show or movie in the reminder.


It may be difficult to make this link via a voice command, so this one can be typed right into the Google Now search field and it’ll work just like you issued the “remind me” voice command.

6. Be Reminded of Meetings & Events

You can also ask Google Now to remind you what your upcoming Google Calendar agenda looks like by saying, “What is my agenda?”

If you want to focus on what’s coming up next in your calendar, just say, “What is my next meeting?”


No need to open up Google Calendar — just let Google Now keep track of everything and remind you of upcoming meetings, just like you had your own personal assistant EasilyDo Or Google Now: Which Is The Better Personal Assistant? EasilyDo is a virtual personal assistant for iOS and Android that can be compared to Google Now. In fact, as we'll discover shortly, it's much better. Read More .

7. Set Short-Term Reminders

Google Now reminders are also really useful in the short term, with a built-in timer and integration with your phone’s alarm clock 3 of the Most Hilariously Annoying Alarm Clock Apps for Android Here are some of the wackiest alarm clock apps for Android. Maybe they'll annoy you, or maybe they'll help wake you up! Read More . You can trigger a timer immediately by saying, “Set timer for 30 minutes”.


This kicks off a timer with the time you’ve specified, and your phone will alert you when the timer has timed out. If you use productivity tricks like the Pomodoro technique Cut Through Procrastination With These Pomodoro Technique Apps & Software Procrastination is a malady that pervades students and workers in all corners of the world and it infects amateurs and professionals alike. As a writer, I suffer from procrastination on a daily basis. Some people... Read More , you could trigger the timer to monitor your work sessions with just a single voice command.

Another convenient Google Now reminder is the ability to set your alarm clock The 5 Best Social Alarm Apps to Help You Get Out of Bed Have a hard time waking up in the morning? These social alarm clock apps can wake you up with a phone call, video, and more. Read More with your voice. Stop stumbling around in the dark at night trying to navigate to your phone’s alarm clock so you can set the alarm for the next morning. Instead, just tell your phone, “Set alarm clock to six-thirty”.


Just say “yes” to confirm and your alarm will get set automatically, and you don’t even have to lay a finger on your phone.

8. Integrate with Other Apps

As you can see, Google Now reminders are really useful on their own, but they’re also integrated with many of the apps already on your phone. You’ll find reminders built into Google Calendar How to Sync Google Calendar with Every Other Platform Google Calendar is arguably the easiest, most intuitive and most versatile way to organize your day. The only problem users commonly encounter is syncing it with their devices. Read More , Inbox Google Inbox Review: A Breath Of Fresh Air Gmail is a household name in the email department, but Google wasn't content with it. Meet Google Inbox, a new way of approaching email. Read More , and Google Keep 4 Google Keep Tips And Tricks For Better Notes, Lists And To-Dos Read More .

Google Keep in particular is really useful, because you can put together detailed information to go along with the reminder. You might have a grocery list in Google Keep, and you can add a reminder to go to the grocery store by tapping the Remind me link at the bottom of the Keep note.


Google Now is also seamlessly integrated with ToDoist. By issuing a voice command starting with “note to self”, you can quickly add an item to your to-do list.

For example, if I want to remind myself to write a MakeUseOf article at 10 PM, I can issue the voice command, “Note to self makeuseof article at ten pm”.


Google Now places the reminder right into the ToDoist Inbox How Much More Productive Is ToDoist Premium? Here Are 6 Good Reasons To Upgrade I kept using ToDoist for free for a while. But kept coming up against things I wanted to do and couldn't. Email reminders. Adding notes to task. Things that would really add a whole lot... Read More of incoming to-do tasks and sets the correct reminder date and time. You can use the usual ToDoist date/time terminology like “every tuesday at noon” or “the first of the month”.

The ability to add tasks to ToDoist with just your voice via Google Now is incredibly time-saving, especially when you’re on the go and don’t have time to fiddle around opening the ToDoist app on your phone.

How Do You Use Reminders?

So, why keep messing around with opening apps like your calendar, alarm clock, or your to-do app when you can do everything with your Android phone via voice command? Google Now reminders give you the flexibility to do all that, and a whole lot more. Give it a try!

Do you use Google Now? Have you figured out any other really cool things you can do with Google Now reminders? Share your creative ideas and tips in the comments section below!

Image Credits:finger with red ribbon by g-stockstudio via Shutterstock

Related topics: Google Now, Task Management, Time Management.

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  1. Ed Fry
    December 30, 2017 at 2:10 pm

    The Google assistant is improving but it is 3 hours now when I am searching for answer on HOW TO SET THE REMINDER BY VOICE SO IT REMINDS ME WITH THE NOTIFICATION?! When I do the same by typing it it works ok.
    There is no answer. It looks that everybody have the same problem rendering the voice seeing for reminders useless.

    Google deal with it!

  2. Andrew
    December 29, 2016 at 3:23 am

    The thing I use the most is Direct me to......" Voice search. Finds the place and gives me turn by turn directions with Google Maps.

  3. DRW
    November 22, 2016 at 9:02 pm

    I use the alarm often, setting it by voice ("set alarm for 4pm"). That is great. But when I set a reminder by voice command ("remind me to call Bob at 4pm") there is no reminder tone or even visual signal when 4pm happens.
    Anyone know a way to make this work?

  4. Krinal Mehta
    August 17, 2016 at 4:13 pm

    Is there a way to edit a reminder with help of a voice command?

  5. Vladimir Brasil
    August 3, 2016 at 2:06 pm

    I believe the new generation will make more use of technologies that are too advanced to be adapted to decades of other habits. And we can tell out loud, to ourselves, that actually they improved the tool - when the new generation starts to use it -, so we can be considered "not guilty" as bad "new technologists". Everyone is correct!

  6. Scott Wildy
    August 2, 2016 at 8:12 pm

    The timer feature is useful and I use it often.

    But the reminders do not work for me at all as they don't popup *when* I want to be reminded. For example I set a reminder to turn the oven on at 4pm, and got a notification at 3pm to remind me to turn the oven on at 4pm. What??!! I said remind me at 4!! So I then dismiss the notification from my android wear watch, and then 4pm comes and goes and I forget to turn the oven on. I never actually get a reminder at 4pm. More "personal annoyance" than "personal assistant".

  7. John L
    March 1, 2016 at 4:14 pm

    I have to say that Google Now is, for me, one of the most useless additions to a mobile operating system. It reads my spam then keeps reminding me about flights I will never take, about meetings I will never attend, purchases that I have never made and other crap. Once it gets its claws into anything there is no stopping it.

    Obviously there is no intelligence in the software when the location has me in the UK, correctly, but Google Now is trying to get me to board a plane in the USA! I have never been to the USA!

    Reminders are something I get with any other calendar app so I certainly don't need another although I admit it is sometimes useful to syn the Google calendar with my real one.

    Every now and then, very rarely, it will pop up and give me my time to get home. If it was reliable and worked every time I could use it but as it rarely does it is another waste of space.

    I think the idea is great but the execution is very poor and is certainly not useable in its present state although having said that it may work great in the USA not that I would know.

  8. Anonymous
    March 1, 2016 at 1:28 pm

    Given the fact that it doesn't get my own home address correct, I don't think I'll be trusting it to find my car! (And that's on a Galaxy Note 3.)

    • Anonymous
      March 2, 2016 at 7:48 pm

      Then you need to open Google Maps, then submit a report about the address discrepancy. I had to do that in my neighborhood several years back as well, but now it is 100% accurate in my neighborhood.

      • Anonymous
        March 3, 2016 at 9:16 am

        I have done a couple of times but they still get it wrong. In fact the whole area, roads, estates and places are either completely wrong or spelt wrong. It's not my job to put them right, they get enough info out of me as it is!

        • Anonymous
          March 8, 2016 at 11:39 pm

          After I did it it took almost 15 months to get it correct - but I did it 7-8 years ago now.

          And you also have to realize that Google obtained a lot of their initial data by either buying data from a third party, or else by acquiring a third party. It is really no different than, say, the data in telephone books. When I was a kid my parents received a phone book that had our address listed incorrectly, and we had to contact the phone company several times to get it fixed as well.

          To help your case, you should get with other people in your area and get everyone to report the issue(s) with your area. More reports will get their attention faster - I noticed that after the 6th report in my neighborhood Google sent me an initial response saying that they thanked me for the report and based upon other reports were going to update their records. That was about 3 months before the changes actually manifested in Google Maps.

  9. Fik of borg
    February 26, 2016 at 7:07 pm

    Do they fix the "set timer" feature back to local based timer? I stopped using it several monts ago when it started to send me to a web based timer (not always available due to marginal cel signal)

  10. Anonymous
    February 24, 2016 at 4:06 pm

    I've used the set a timer feature frequently. I've also used the location reminder a few times. I usually get a notification right away at the place I've specified, even with using only battery saver. The accuracy has improved dramatically since I switched to the Nexus 6P over the Galaxy S4.