Finally, in an effort that should have happened years ago, Google has finally re-added the ability to take notes and make lists via Google Assistant on your Google Home speakers, Nest speakers, Chromebooks, or phones. This is a feature I’ve long hoped would return and Google seems to finally have relented and brought it back better than it was before.
Not only can you take notes or make lists with just your voice, you can also choose between a few different note-taking apps, too. Along for the ride at this point are Google Keep, Bring!, AnyList, and Any.do and it is your choice which service to use. It is worth noting that you can just leave things alone and use the standard Google Assistant notes app, too. My guess is these services needed to comply with some Assistant-specific APIs in order to work properly for new note creation and the number of possible apps this will work with should only grow over time.
To get started, you simply need to open the Assistant on your phone, tablet or Chromebook and get to the settings menu. For Chromebook users, this is simply found on the bottom-right corner after you trigger the Assistant with the keyboard button or SEARCH+A. On phones, the menu is a bit harder to find. Call up the Assistant, hit the little inbox icon on the bottom-left, and then click your avatar in the upper right corner.
Once you are in your settings (on either device) you’ll now need to select the ‘Services’ tab and then click on Notes & Lists. If you don’t see it there, don’t fret. It will arrive soon. Mine wasn’t there for the first few days after this feature released and just showed up for my personal testing today. After you’ve selected this, you’ll be offered the full list of working note apps to choose from and get linked up to the Google Assistant.
Once this is complete, you can ask any Assistant speaker or device to create a new note or a new list and it will walk you through that creation. In my testing, I saw the note appear on my Chromebook screen in Google Keep almost instantly. While I didn’t expect it to take long for my transcription to head to my notes, I didn’t expect it would show up so fast. I can’t speak to the other services and their speed, but Google Keep and Google Assistant simply feel like magic together.
Creating a list with multiple items is a bit finicky and I really wish single notes would auto-punctuate, but this is a good start for grabbing ideas while you are on the go or in the middle of other tasks around your office or house. I know I’ve learned to speak my punctuation when needed over the years, so I suppose I’ll just do that until Google’s speech recognition gets good enough to just do it all for me.