Yahoo's new chatbot will send reminders and set shopping lists for your family

Yahoo may have wrapping up that Verizon acquisition on its mind these days, but the internet firm apparently found the time to build a chatbot designed to coordinate logistics between family members.

Yahoo's brand-new bot is called Captain. It's a text-based system that sets and sends reminders as well as updates shopping and to-do lists without the need to download separate applications. Currently, Captain is only available in the US.

To get started, simply text "Hi" to 773-786. Captain will send over set-up instructions, and you can begin adding family members to your chat group.

From there, you can create reminders, such as for an upcoming dentist appointment, and set a notification for yourself as well as send one to the whomever has a date with the drill.

You and your family members can also edit shopping lists – "Add item milk" or "Remove item bread" are example commands – and everyone can access the lists for the next time they're at the store.

Yahoo has produced a thorough list of prompts users can text to Captain to set reminders, edit lists and more.

Captain in action

Captain in action

We've seen chatbots come and go from various tech giants, but Yahoo's Captain is a bit out of the blue considering the company as we know it may not exist for much longer. 

We asked Yahoo about its long-term plans for Captain, including whether it will expand the chatbot's features, release more chatbots and if the company plans to take what it learns from Captain and apply it to other products or services.

"We're constantly iterating," Shani Clark, Senior Director of Product Management at Yahoo, said in a statement sent to TechRadar. "We're always interested in user feedback, which we use to evolve our offerings."

While Captain could be helpful in coordinating the lives of busy families, whether it becomes a must-have scheduling solution remains to be seen. Captain's format is simple, which could be a point in its favor, however one potential negative is the presence of advertisements. 

Ads are noted in Captain's terms of service, and while Clark told us the bot doesn't currently have ads, Yahoo may explore showing them in the future.

As for when you no longer want use Captain, you have a few options to discontinue the service. You can text "Remove member [name]" to stop receiving group notifications. You can also text "stop" and Captain won't send you any more texts, though you can text "start" to receive messages once again. 

Michelle Fitzsimmons

Michelle was previously a news editor at TechRadar, leading consumer tech news and reviews. Michelle is now a Content Strategist at Facebook.  A versatile, highly effective content writer and skilled editor with a keen eye for detail, Michelle is a collaborative problem solver and covered everything from smartwatches and microprocessors to VR and self-driving cars.