Having been review bombed on the Google Play Store for its lack of feature parity with Hangouts, Google Chat has fired up within me another set of frustrations that I hadn’t anticipated – its lackluster Tasks implementation. While I have an appreciation for the collaborative nature of tasks within Chat – something that simply doesn’t exist in the standalone Google Tasks app – several other things have since taken center stage as annoyances during my day-to-day usage.
My primary concern last I spoke on this issue was that the app had lost its rapid-logging benefits since it had a heavy animation splash screen each time you visited the Tasks tab and the fact that you had to continue to click over to that tab each time you needed it instead of it remembering your position as a setting. Since then, it seems that the development team has taken at least the first part of that feedback into account as the splash screen no longer intervenes on mobile, at least.
This is all good news, but I realized something today – Google Tasks remains a necessary evil that I must keep installed alongside Google Chat’s Spaces if I want the best task management experience. It has the ability to sort your tasks by date and an overview of all of your tasks so that you can see what’s past due without having to scroll back several days on your Google Calendar for one.
After using Spaces for some time now, I can tell you that this is sorely missed. Sure, I can visit each individual room or space in the Chat app, and this focused attention has its benefits, but I do wish that I could see all tasks from all rooms in one place collectively so that I could step back and make bigger decisions at least once per week.
The biggest offender is a missing feature that I simply can’t believe has not been added into Spaces yet – recurring tasks. I’m not sure if Google wants us to use its ‘Goals’ feature in Calendar that badly, or if it’s got plans to keep Google Tasks around alongside Spaces, but I feel as though the latter is incomplete without the ability to cause a task to repeat. Because of this, any tasks that repeat for me can’t go inside of Spaces – they go inside of Google Tasks. It’s extremely annoying to have such a split experience, and I hope that this gets rectified!
Lastly, I’ve come to love the Android widget for Tasks, and I’ve noticed that Chat’s Spaces simply doesn’t have one. I believe that one day, your to-do lists will live exclusively inside of Chat, and if that’s the case, Google still needs to maintain them as separate experiences on some level. Giving users a Tasks widget for the app in addition to the conversation widget in Android 12 would be a good move if you ask me.