Alarms and timers are probably two of the things I use the Google Assistant for most often. Voice commands make setting them dead simple (especially important for the kitchen, when my hands are often covered in food), and I can use them on my phone, my Pixelbook, or one of my Google Homes.

The problem is that, for all the endpoint ubiquity of setting and managing these timers via the Assistant, I can't actually control or set timers for one device from another. That's kind of silly, and it's a feature I've been wanting for years now. If the appeal isn't obvious to you, let me just put it this way: Have you ever wanted to set an alarm or timer on your phone, only to have your Google Home respond to the query instead? Or to cancel an alarm or timer on your phone from your Google Home? I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest that many of us have.

I'm not saying this is a simple, flip-a-lightswitch problem to solve. I'm sure if it was that easy, we'd already have it. But being able to say to my phone "Hey Google, set a timer in the kitchen for 20 minutes" or "Hey Google, set an alarm in the bedroom for 6AM" are such obvious use cases as to make explaining them almost unnecessary. Similarly, being able to manage alarms and timers remotely - using a Google Home to silence an alarm or timer on my phone - would be great. It's such a natural extension of the Assistant's capabilities, and we already know the Assistant can recognize your voice and, of course, your personal devices, to avoid any shenanigans.

With Google Home and the Assistant coming up on two years since their initial announcements, you'd have to hope Google's been working on something like this, right? And there was very real reason to think that... four years ago: when Google bought the developer behind an excellent cloud-synced, cross-device alarm and timer app called Timely.

Google, for what it's worth, didn't kill the app, but it hasn't received a meaningful update since 2015.

So, that's where we're at. While I'm tempted to call this a "simple feature request," I know that there's probably a lot on the back end that makes setting and managing alarms and timers across devices less than trivial to build and manage. But it's yet another great opportunity for Google to differentiate the Assistant and Home from competitors, and it's one that clearly almost everyone would use. I have to believe this is on a feature roadmap somewhere - it has to be - and I was holding out some hope for it at I/O 2018, but nothing materialized (aside from Material Theming).

Anyway, I wouldn't say this is a rant, but I would say it's a little alarming that Google can't seem to find the time to implement this much-needed feature.


Not really.