Google Now is a powerful tool. A step toward Google's vision of a Star Trek computer in the palm of your hand, Now is built to serve up information that you need, exactly when you need it, without you asking for it.

To that end, the service has seen many improvements since its debut. It will tell you when your favorite teams are playing, when you need to leave to make it to the airport on time, whether your plane is delayed, and plenty of info about your destination and surrounding attractions, among numerous other things.

One of the more impressive features of Now is its ability to set really smart reminders. Reminders can be based on time, or they can be based on location, so if you say "remind me to do the laundry when I get home," Now will detect when you get home and serve the reminder.

According to a source familiar with the matter, Now will soon gain the ability to set reminders based on your proximity to another person.

Disclaimer: No matter the confidence level, there's always a chance product updates, features, and some or all details will be changed or cancelled altogether. As with all rumors, nothing is 100% until it's officially announced.

We do not have possession of any APKs or unreleased devices, so please don't ask for them.

Confidence Level

Based on what we've seen, this rumor is getting a confidence level of 8 out of 10. We have deducted points both because potential future features are always a somewhat risky bet, and because we don't have evidence of a specific release timeframe. That said, we have seen enough evidence to be pretty confident in the rumor.

The Rumor

This rumor is fairly simple: according to our source, Google Now will add "who" to the existing "when" and "where" options for reminders. This will give users the option to get a reminder when they are "with" (near) a specified contact.

How this will be executed is unclear for the moment. Presumably, it would rely on Google's optional Location Sharing feature (part of Google+), meaning that in order to be served a reminder based on your proximity to another person, you that person would need to be sharing precise location with you. Google could serve up a list of only the contacts sharing their location with you to make the process easier. Again, this is our assumption - we don't have evidence pointing toward a specific implementation.

The Evidence

Our evidence is based on information provided by our source. As we stated in one of our previous rumor posts, we may not be able to provide the source images of unreleased software, but we will always try to at least represent what we can using our own mockup. You can see our mockup below on the right, along with the current reminder options on the left.

Screenshot_2014-03-14-21-18-05 who_m

Update: As our own Cody Toombs pointed out, there's actually already a string in Google Search 3.3 suggesting this functionality.

<string name="set_reminder_who">Who</string>

Final Thoughts

Since location sharing isn't exactly a feature Google goes to great lengths to promote, this feature would probably require a first-run reminder or some sort of onboarding process to let users know how it works, what they'll need to turn on, etc. Once that is out of the way, though, it could be pretty cool.

Thanks, Anon!

Liam Spradlin
Liam loves Android, design, user experience, and travel. He doesn't love ill-proportioned letter forms, advertisements made entirely of stock photography, and writing biographical snippets.

  • darkdude1

    Personally, I welcome any extension to the Google Now service; some people may not like this, in which case there is hopefully a nice easy opt-out. But in recent months I've been constantly amazed at how accurate and useful Now is. Personally I find it better than Siri. To that extent I've begun using gmail exclusively so that Now in the future might also be able to show me useful information.

    • ash

      It currently do that by reading your mail from gmail. It shows the flight details booking details by reading the mail

  • usaff22

    Still waiting for always-on listening. Seriously, apparently the new One even has it.

    • http://rootzwiki.com/news Max M.
      • usaff22

        I saw that. BUT I WANT IT NOW lol

      • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii


    • Matthew Fry

      The Note 3 can do it, but only through stupid S-Voice. Speaking of which, why isn't there an Xposed module for this? XDA people I don't pay nor appreciate enough, get on it!

      • Simon Belmont

        There's a proof of concept for the Nexus 5 where a developer got the always-on listening to work. It taps into the low-power language core in the Snapdragon 800.

        Google just needs to make it something that's polished and talks back to you (like reading back texts or reading back a dictated message) conversationally completely hands-free. I would think we'll see something in the next major version of Android (or Google Search).

      • Matt Dowdy

        Try s for switch voice in the playstore. it activates google voice search from screen off on the note 3

    • Simon Belmont

      Me, too. Hoping to see this in the next major update to Android (4.5 or 5.0) on my Nexus 5 (it has the hardware to do low-power listening).

      I really want to see Google's version of touchless control and I want my texts and emails read back to me (and offer to reply). I'd also like to be able to reply hands-free via Bluetooth (ie, it reads back what I've dictated and asks if I want to send without having to look at my phone).

  • Kareem Ayman

    still it cannot set a proper cowntdown timer!

    • aNYthing6

      It does in KitKat.

      • Kareem Ayman


        • theunknown

          Is it not doing what you asked?
          I see the system time on your phone to be 7:52 and you asked for a timer to be set for two minutes.
          Now in case of a timer it counts down the time and beeps when the countdown hits Zero.
          In this case the app reuses code and existing functionality and sets an alarm to go off in two minutes i.e. 7:54, which essentially does the same function but in a different manner.

          I suppose you are expecting a countdown to see how many minutes are left in your timer, but the way I see it, this still gets the job done to indicate when a specific time slot is over.

          • Roger Siegenthaler

            Actually no... the way it is now it could be anything from 1:01 till 7:54 or 2 minutes till 7:54... it's not the same, because an alarm goes off at the beginning of the minute, not accurate to the second.

      • miri

        The voice command still sets an alarm.

      • Simon Belmont

        Not yet. It accepts the "timer" command, but it's still basically an alarm set for the amount of time the "timer" is asked.

        It seems like a no-brainer to add this, so hopefully the fact they bought up the Timely company, it will get added. Who knows.

        • ddpacino

          I'm pretty sure they brought them in as UI designers and not to implement a proper 'timer' voice command.

          • Simon Belmont

            Probably correct. Still, they might motivate Google to make the timer interface actually exist.

            Right now it's just a glorified alarm setter. If it's so simple to implement a proper timer then you'd think it would have been done by now.

      • n_a_v

        counting 1, 2, 3, ..., 10 is not the same as down from 10, 9, 8, ..., 1

        They both give a 10 count but only the latter is a countDOWN timer

    • Kevin

      While I understand the logic of using an alarm instead of a proper timer (it's more battery friendly), it's still confusing for the user.

      Also, I use Alarm Clock Plus (it makes me solve math problems to turn off, which forces me to wake up for work) instead of the stock alarm, but the "timer" function uses the stock alarm, so that messes with things. Or at least I think it does. And I don't want to be late for work :-/

  • dogulas

    Sweet. I tried to make a loud suggestion for this feature awhile ago, hoping someone would notice. Maybe they thought of it on their own, which is just as likely. Either way, a super welcome addition to Google Now.

  • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/eric-ravenscraft/ Eric Ravenscraft

    I'd have to assume this is tied to location sharing, which would probably make it useless for most people. It would be nifty if you could allow Google Now not to share your location with someone else necessarily, but still notify them when you're nearby. Even then, though, I can't imagine too many people sharing their location info with enough people for this to see broad adoption. Maybe among couples/family members or close friends, but that's about it.

    • codemonkey85

      Couples / family members or close friends are, in my opinion, the only groups you would use this for anyway (well, maybe coworkers).

      • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/eric-ravenscraft/ Eric Ravenscraft

        Well, it might just me my personal use case, but I can think of a dozen people that I would think "Oh, yeah, I need to mention that next time I see them!" But those are the people that I might see once every week or two. Or every couple of months. In fact, I need reminders for those people *more*, specifically because I don't see them as often. Ironically, those are the people I'd least want to use location sharing with. For everyone else, I could use "When I get home" (for family) or "At a certain time" when I know I'm going to be hanging out with them.

        Again, that's just me, though.

        • Matthew Fry

          It would be easier to shoot them an email than to make sure they've shared their location with you and then set a reminder in Google Now.

    • Jason Rittenhouse

      Just because the other person doesn't share their location with you, doesn't mean Google doesn't know their location and could just trigger your reminder only when that person is near your location. This wouldn't violate the fact that they aren't sharing their location with you because you're standing right next to them. Unless it's a game of hide and seek...

  • aatifsumar

    Wow. Google thinks we're such playboys, that we need our phone to remind us to Do somone. Really hope they rephrase "Do Something - Who? - Naomi Terell"

  • andy_o

    The "when I get home" and "work" seem to still be broken, is it actually working for you guys?

    • miri

      Works just fine for me.

      • andy_o

        Doesn't with me, it's been broken for months now. (I don't live at "The Lint Man".)

        • miri

          Both commands worked for me. All I can suggest is that you make sure your home and work locations are set properly in either Google search settings or Maps.

          • andy_o

            Yeah they both check out, and I can choose them without problem manually in the dropdown and they also show up correctly in the Now cards for navigation, but "navigate to" has the same problem.

      • andy_o

        This happens with "work":

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Liam's use case with the laundry works for me.

      • andy_o

        Doesn't here, it must be something with the addresses or my area, but the addresses check out, maps doesn't even let you select an address that it doesn't have registered.

        • cabbiebot

          set home and work addresses up in google maps and try then?

      • andy_o

        Apparently it was the "personal results" setting in Search.I had it turned off.

  • RD

    That implementation doesn't sound all that useful. Can't think of many instances where I would need to be reminded to do something when I am near someone. It would also require your friends to have location sharing enabled.

    I would imagine it might be for setting up a reminder for someone else. Something like "Remind my husband to pick up milk on the way home"

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      "Remind me to sex the wife when near: the wife."

      Your argument is invalid.

      But seriously, I think Google knows your use case is very desirable, and hopefully will have something for us soon.

      • http://google.com/+derekross Derek Ross

        Haha, I came here to comment just exactly that. Our wives are so proud of us right now.

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/pamela-hill/ Pamela Hill

          As if you guys *really* need a reminder for that. ;)

          • Scott

            Haha true that.

          • flosserelli

            You must have never been married for years.

          • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/pamela-hill/ Pamela Hill

            Depends. Do you consider 16 "years on end?"

    • Simon Belmont

      How about "remind me to give John his game back when I see him" for example? That exchange could happen at any locale, really, like if you meet for lunch, his house, or drop by his job.

      It seems like a useful function to me. Just my two cents.

      • Matt

        Yeah, I can think of quite a few cases where it's nice to be in the vicinity of somebody for a reminder without worrying about actual location (remind me to give John his five bucks back, remind me to ask Amy what I'm supposed to bring to the party Friday, remind me to tell Mike about how my date went, etc.). There's always stuff that you want to tell or ask people that needs a more personal touch than a text and, among most millenials, isn't really done over the phone. I think this could be pretty useful.

        • Simon Belmont

          Exactly. Bingo.

          This is definitely a feature that I would take advantage of. There's been plenty of times where I meant to mention something to someone, only to remember as I was in the car leaving.

  • cabbiebot

    I haven't really tested person location sharing in G+. Is the lost functionality from Latitude built into it (where I can see their location live on a map)?

    • esper256

      Yes it is basically the new Latitude. The only weird part is that you can only see a map view with everyone on it from mobile.

      From the desktop web you can only get a location of a single person (and not view a map with everyone on it at the same time).

  • Jason Bell

    Eh, I'd rather have a When/Where combination option, especially with recurring reminders. Ex: "Remind me to do something on Tuesdays at 8am at work".

  • spoodermain

    If it wasn't for battery and data, ill always have it on, but then again im not a busy man and i prefer searching by myself

  • Duncan

    It would be nice if geolocalization and 3G does not drain the battery

  • Jeff Weatherup

    Has anyone actually gotten the "Remind me when I get home" function to work? I've tried it several times, I have location reporting enabled, and I programmed into GNow where "Home" and "Work" are, yet the reminders never come through. I guess the fact that I live in an apartment might have something to do with it, but still...

  • http://the-jade-domain.com Jaime J. Denizard

    We could use this to reverse-spy on people. If you suspect your significant other is following you around, tell Google Now to remind you to turn around when you're near them!

    • JPB

      Useful only if your ex is sharing location with you. By default, this is opt-in on Google.

  • John

    For me this is still lacking in flexibility that I currently have with the tags I use in my task app on android. I have a tag for each tool required to get something done which include @car and @phone.
    For example, if I need to drop something off at the bank I rarely pass by, I tag the reminder with @car, seeing as I'm in my car every day. I happen to have Bluetooth in my car so possibly that is enough for my phone to recognize whether I am in the vehicle or not.
    Google Now is too random to actually rely upon. Recognizing the tools I have at my disposal, the 'how' is just as important as the 'when', 'where' and 'who'.

  • david bruce james

    Android Police is one of the aps that cause me pause. Now if they have every molester highlighted on the phone and one sits beside my ll yr old daughter on the city bus and can call me or her to notify us, ok that is great. But if they also have a listing of every felon in the state, and its a state where it is not acceptable for two or more felons to get together. It would quite embarrassing for some families to get together at a funeral Would we have been told all of the capabilities of this new android had it not been for Snowden