Google's list issue: I could do better than that (concept)

Keeping it all in one place

The great thing about Google is how it gives you so many options: but they're often all to do the same thing.

However, there are signs things are changing. Google Play Newsstand and the old News and Weather app have just combined into the same Google News app and there are rumours that Google Play Music will soon be rolling into Youtube Music to form one cohesive offering and God knows we're all waiting for Google's messaging options to be streamlined.

But there another property that needs attention: lists.

I've already pointed out how tasks and lists should be much more valuable to Google than it currently appears to be. The problem is that making lists with Google products is a confusing mess. They are just scattered all over the place:

- Google Keep
- Google Tasks
- Shopping List made with the Assistant
- 'Remember This' commands made with Assistant
- Reminders made with Assistant

When you want to find something, you could potentially have to search all of these separate places to find where you saved it.

That's just silly.

I swear, I could do better than that.

Here's how:

Google Keep as a syncronized hub for all notes and lists

Google Keep is already a great place to keep notes, so it should be used to collate all our notes made across different devices and Google services. As long as it's tied to our account, all our notes should be there.

This is different to a 'one app to rule them all' approach. I'm not advocating getting rid of the recent update to Google Tasks, for example. The Google Tasks app is a quick and efficient way to add to a list and that's how a task manager app should be. In comparison, Google Keep takes a couple of steps to get adding to a list, even if you've pinned that important list to the top of the app and, when it comes to tasks, those extra steps really add up. Nope, the Google Tasks interface is just fine as it is. And I fully accept that I should be able to say 'add chainsaw and high-strength bleach to my shopping list' to the Assistant without having to specifiy an app to use (although defaults kinda solves that problem anyway).

What I'm on about here is task retrieval. If I've made a note of something somewhere, I need to be able to access that info quickly and easily without hunting around different apps to see where I've stored it.

The solution is making Keep the repository for all notes and lists and reminders made in any Google app or service. Everything should sync to Keep, even if it was made elsewhere.

For example, Keep already has a 'reminders' section in the pull-out menu. This shouldn't just be for reminders made in Keep, but should sync all those reminders made across Google services, when speaking to the Assistant or made in Gmail.

In the same way, there should be a 'lists' tab in that same menu - from which we can access all lists made with Google, no matter what service they were made on.

If we tried to differentiate between lists in different places, that only leads to potential confusion again in where things are stored; so the lists in Keep should sync with the lists in Tasks and the Shopping List made with Assistant should appear in Keep and Tasks.

There are, of course, reasons for having each service sandboxed from the others - but the simplicity of having a unified and synchronized system outweighs them all.

So, this way we get one collection of lists, notes and reminders inside Keep along with optimised methods to access and create them with Assistant and Tasks.

Easy (as long as you don't actually have to do the engineering required to make it work).

(Disclaimer: ideas are cheap; execution is everything)


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