Google is delivering an emotional gut punch to the forgetful as it will soon remove location-based reminders.
The company didn’t make a public announcement, but some eagle-eyed users noticed the change in the Google Assistant Help page (opens in new tab). For those who don’t know or remember, you were able to create reminders to yourself according to a location. As an example, you could set a reminder to buy a gallon of milk at the supermarket, and if Google Assistant on your phone (opens in new tab) detects you driving past one, it’ll let you know.
It’s unknown why Google is doing this, nor do we know when this feature will be removed. We reached out to Google and asked if they could explain the decision to remove the Google Assistant feature and when people should expect this feature to be removed. Unfortunately, Google never got back to us. The only thing Google said on its help page in relation to this is that you can still create reminders based on time or create a routine for those locations.
9to5 Google speculates this could be tied to a potentially new “Memory” feature for Assistant that would allow the service to save files, locations, movies, and more. They claim this is part of a “spring cleaning,” and that Google is getting rid of old and unwanted features so that it can bring in something new. People on the Android subreddit (opens in new tab) claim that Google is sending out notifications telling users of its upcoming change.
Speaking of users, their reaction has been a mixture of negativity and confusion. Judging by that Reddit post, some people are disappointed that the location-based reminders are getting removed while others completely forgot it was even a thing.
A select few are actually happy location-based reminders are being removed because they claim the feature just didn’t work.
Analysis: Out with the old
The assertion that Google is doing some “spring cleaning” might hold some truth. During the I/O 2022, Google announced that it was revamping Google Assistant's AI so it can understand more casual conversation. Perhaps it is axing some old - and maybe underutilized - tech to make way for the new.
Google Snapshot, for example, was removed from its services back in mid-April. It was a feature that gave you a quick look at how your day was going to be, but now it’s gone with seemingly no follow-up. If that Memory feature does come to fruition, then perhaps it’s best that the underutilized location-based reminders go away for good to make way for something better.
If you’re looking for an app besides Google offerings to set reminders, TechRadar has a list of the best calendar apps for 2022.