Google Plans to Cut Location Reminders Assistant Feature

The Google logo in front of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.

Photograph, Justin Sullivan ,Getty Photographs,

“Okay Google… Set a reminder to remind me to remind you to cease your location reminder function.”


Thanks, Google. Properly, when you go to the Google Assistant Assist web page, it now says that the flexibility to create reminders on the app “goes away quickly.” Moreover, the flexibility to assign a reminder to another person can also be going the way in which of the dodo.

9to5Google first reported that the tech large’s plans to ax location primarily based reminders on Google Assistant-enabled units, equivalent to consumer telephones or Google Residence. The soon-to-be nixed function was first noticed by customers on reddit, Some commenters mentioned that the function by no means actually fulfilled its promise. Others mentioned they discovered the function helpful, even whereas utilizing it on iOS units.

Google didn’t reply to Gizmodo’s request for remark Thursday morning asking why the function is being eliminated, or when customers can count on the change to happen.

The function reminds customers to do duties once they arrived at particular places. As an illustration, it would chime to immediate you to select up a sure merchandise whenever you get to the grocery retailer. Google first provided location-based reminders again in 2018 and the flexibility to assign others a reminder in 2019,

The timing for this introduced change can also be telling. Some tech bloggers speculated the options are being eliminated to make method for Google’s new “reminiscence” improve to assistant, which guarantees customers they will listing and retailer something from hyperlinks to articles, books, photographs, contacts, flights, music, recipes, and extra.

However the change can also be coming down the pike as they and different app builders have caught main flak for monitoring consumer’s actions even when not utilizing the app. An investigation by Canada’s privateness commissioner confirmed that individuals who downloaded the app for Tim Hortons—a well-liked espresso chain— had their actions tracked each couple of minutes, even when the app was not in use. Investigators mentioned the app collected data to deduce the place customers lived, labored, and traveled.

The corporate claimed it was solely aggregating location information to investigate consumer traits, and that it stopped monitoring consumer places after a neighborhood paper broke the story in 2020, However regardless of Tim Horton’s claims, firms each huge and small are consistently buying and selling consumer information for the aim of focused advertisements.

Extra international locations and municipalities are cracking down on privateness protections. A number of state lawyer generals are suing the tech large over its assortment of consumer location information. The AGs allege the ubiquity of Google’s apps on telephones and units make it practically not possible to choose out of any and all location monitoring.

Google Assistant does monitor consumer information on units, based on the corporate’s reality sheet, Particularly, the Google Residence app asks customers to offer their deal with, and when you do not, then it makes use of the system’s IP deal with to present consumer space data equivalent to climate or site visitors. The tech large factors to its privateness coverage to assert it solely collects information primarily based on customers’ settings, and that the app solely will accumulate information when the app is lively.

The corporate didn’t reply to Gizmodo’s question whether or not the corporate makes use of assistant location reminders for focused advertisements.

Nevertheless, third social gathering apps can even share personal data with Google when going by means of Google Assistant, primarily based on consumer settings. And because the Tim Hortons scandal reveals, an enormous number of firms wish to attain prospects by way of any means vitalparticularly as huge tech limits apps’ skill to trace customers,

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