Google Assistant’s forgotten memory magic

If there’s one thing I always remember these days, it’s that my malleable mammal memory sure ain’t what it used to be.

As (I think) I’ve said plenty of times before, my brain stopped storing new stuff somewhere around 2014. These days, I rely on a complex system of carefully crafted reminders — both virtual and physical — to make sure I never forget anything important.

And yet, I just realized I’d forgotten about one of Android’s most useful remembering functions. In fact, it’s entirely possible I’d never even noticed it at all up until just recently, when I happened to stumble onto it over the holidays. (I’d tell you for sure, but — well…y’know.)

The feature of which we speak is a sweet little somethin’ that’s tied into Google Assistant on Android and connected to an option most of us Android-adoring animals rarely remember to relish. But with the new year upon us, lemme tell ya: It is well worth your while to dig it up and get yourself in the habit of embracing it.

So what is it? Excellent question, m’dearie. It’s essentially a hub for Assistant’s wonderful yet woefully underappreciated cross-platform info-storing system. And if you, too, have trouble remembering stuff as you wade your way around this wide, wild world of ours, it might be just the slice o’ brain-aiding sorcery you never knew you needed.

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Assistant’s Android memory bank

All right — enough introductory blathering. The magic words at the center of this revelation are actually quite simple. Ready?

Hey Google: Open memory.

Say those eight splendid syllables to any Android apparatus within earshot, and Google Assistant will open up a virtual memory bank of everything you’ve ever asked it to remember.

Google Assistant Android memory list JR

Assistant’s on-demand memory storage center — never more than a few short words away.

Who knew?!

For context, what Assistant is actually showing here is stuff you’ve explicitly told it to store for you — as part of that broader memory option we mentioned a moment ago. We talked about that option in our collection of little-known Google Assistant Android tricks just before the holiday break, in fact. Remember?

You can ask your Android Assistant to remember virtually anything — and then spout it back to you anytime down the road.

So, for instance, you might ask Assistant to remember that the door code is 8675309 — or to remember that Gertrude’s daughter is named Gilly.

All you’ve gotta do is say something like Hey Google, remember that Gertrude’s daughter is named Gilly, and that’s it. Assistant will handle the rest.

Now, typically, once you’ve uttered such a request to your Android phone’s Assistant, the onus falls upon you to then ask Assistant to recall that same specific info sometime later — so, for instance:

  • What’s the door code?
  • What’s Gertrude’s daughter named?

Or, if you’d rather:

  • What did I tell you about the door code?
  • What did I tell you about Gertrude’s daughter?

And that works! Swimmingly well, in fact. But that also assumes you actually remember what it was you asked Assistant to remember. And oftentimes — especially if you drag around a dopey mush-mind like mine — said remembering doesn’t end up happening. And so once-important-seeming info gets lost in Assistant’s dark and suspiciously steamy abyss, never to be revisited again.

That’s where this awesome Open memory option comes into play. Simply ask Assistant to open its memory — anytime, anywhere — and the service will serve up a list of every last morsel you’ve ever asked it to remember, on any device.

But wait! There’s another noteworthy twist to this yet.

Assistant memory, beyond just Android

What’s especially useful with this system is that both the “open memory” option and the “remember” function before it will actually work from any Assistant-connected gadget you’ve got, so long as you’re signed in and using the same Google account on it that you use everywhere else.

So in other words, you could tell an Assistant-sporting Smart Display in your office to remember some important fact and then find said fact via Assistant on your phone later. Or you could spout all sorts of silliness whilst walking around with your phone and then later ask Assistant to “open memory” on the screen in your house to review it all en masse, even if you don’t remember every specific detail of everything you uttered.

And a fun little bonus: If you’re on a device where Google Assistant isn’t available — like a desktop computer that isn’t running Google’s ChromeOS software — you can pull up that same list by visiting this specific link within the Google My Activity website.

It’s all connected, and it’s all there to help you whenever and wherever you need it. All you’ve gotta do is remember to use it.

Hey Google: Remind me about that, too, would ya?

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