Google on Thursday said it's unveiling a new feature for its Assistant software that lets people send reminders to friends and family on their phones or Google Home devices.
Here's how the update, called "assignable reminders," works: You can trigger the Google Assistant, the search giant's rival to Amazon's Alexa and Apple's Siri, by saying "Hey Google." Then you can add a command, telling the software to remind your husband to take out the trash at 6 p.m. or telling your housemate to pick up the dry cleaning tomorrow morning.
That person will then get a reminder on their phone, Google Home smart speaker, or a smart display that works with the Assistant. That person can also ask the Assistant to see a list of all their reminders. The software will comply only if it recognizes your voice. You can send reminders only to people who are listed as family in your Google account or are linked and voice matched to the same Google Home device.
You can also set a reminder based on someone's location. For example, if you want a friend to pick up something at the grocery store, you can set a reminder to pop up when they get to the building.
The update comes as voice assistants have drawn increased scrutiny. Privacy advocates have slammed Google, Amazon and Apple for giving third-party contractors access to people's private voice recordings in order to help improve language recognition for their software tools. Google last week said it's pausing language reviews while it reviews its policies.
Last month, Google confirmed that third-party workers who analyze language data from the Assistant leaked private Dutch conversations. Belgian public broadcaster VRT NWS said more than 1,000 files had been leaked, including recordings from instances where users accidentally triggered Google's software.