A couple of weeks ago, Google announced a new and very useful Assistant feature: the ability to set reminders and assign them to someone else in your family or household. The option is now live for some users in English (US, UK, Australia) and works just as expected. You can assign a time or location reminder to someone, change it or delete it, check on their progress, and more. So let's take a look at how this works.
Assigning reminders on Assistant requires the other person to be in your Google Contacts and:
- either part of your family group on Family Link — you've probably set this up if you share Play Store purchases
- either signed in to the same Google Assistant speaker or smart display in your home.
The feature works on both phones and smart speakers/displays, but requires the Assistant language to be set to English (US, UK, Australia — according to Google's announcement, but could change with time). It doesn't hurt to also make sure your phone is set to one of these locales too.
On the recipient's end, assignable reminders will need to be enabled. To check if that's the case, ask your contact to go to Assistant's settings, then Services > Assignable reminders. The toggle has to be enabled. Keep in mind though that your name won't show up there until you assign at least one reminder to them. This is also where anyone can disable assignable reminders from others.
Where to enable or disable assignable reminders, on a per contact basis.
How to assign a reminder
You can set both time and location reminders for your family and household members. To do that, ask Google to "remind [contact_name] to [do_action] at [time_or_place]." Even better, if you've set up a relationship with that person, you can simply say their nickname instead of their name, to avoid any potential confusion with other people.
Once a reminder is set, you get a few suggestion chips, like asking Assistant to "change it" or "delete it." That lets you make modifications (time or title) and send them to the recipient as you see fit. They'll be alerted of all those changes.
Left: Setting up a new assigned reminder. Right: Changing the date/time.
If you want to see all the reminders you've assigned to someone, ask "show my reminders for [contact_name]" and you'll get the list. You can also see completed items to make sure they did the thing they were supposed to do by asking, "show reminders completed by [contact_name]." Unfortunately, you don't get notified when they complete the task, you'll have to manually check for it, which is annoying.
Left: Using nicknames and seeing all reminders you assigned to someone. Right: All their completed reminders.
On the recipient's end
When someone from your family or household assigns a reminder to you, you get a notification from Assistant with the time/place, person's name, and subject. Tapping on it shows it's been added to your regular reminders with one visual change: the subject shows this was received from someone else and there's a contact icon with the full sender name below the reminder.
Left: Receiving an assigned reminder. Right: It sits with your regular reminders.
You can reorganize that reminder as you see fit, tap it to get more options like deleting it or editing it, and mark it as completed. Any changes you make can be checked by the sender — again, they won't be notified about it, but they'll see the updated version if they check reminders they assigned to you.
Left: Ask Assistant to show all reminders assigned to you by a contact. Right: Completing an assigned reminder.
In my testing, assignable reminders appear to be working as intended. I didn't encounter any issues whether I was setting them up, receiving them, or making modifications to any. The only hiccup is that the recipient gets notified of all changes made by the sender, but the opposite isn't true. Senders need to manually check the state of reminders they assigned. I do, however, understand why this was set up this way. I wouldn't want to get a notification each time my husband delayed a task for 10 more minutes. (Don't tell him I said that.)
If you want to know more about how assignable reminders work, you can check Google's support page.
- Anthoni Maki