Google Tasks Is A Barebones (But Effective) To-Do App That Makes Gmail More Useful

Google may have paused development on Allo, but it seems the company can't quite quit its habit of churning out apps just to keeps the wheels moving. Today it launched Google Tasks on Android and iOS, which actually rises above Google's overloaded app cycle thanks to a clean UI and handy integration with Gmail and Google Calendar.

This screen is really all there is in Tasks.

On its face, Tasks is just a simple standalone to-do app that lets you organise things into various lists, complete with the ability to assign due dates, add subtasks, and even created nested tasks directly inside of an email. Staying organised is as simple as dragging and dropping entries in whatever order you want and entering a date. When the time comes near, the app will surface a notification so you don't forget.

However, more sophisticated features like being able to automatically suggest tasks, or create tasks using your voice via Google Assistants just aren't there. In fact, there isn't even a widget for Tasks in Android, which means you can't pin your to-do list to your phone's home screen, like you can with Google Keep.

Speaking of Keep, some folks might be wondering why Google didn't simply upgrade its extant list-making app with to-do functionality, and it's a fair question. Ostensibly, the idea is that making lists and taking notes are different functions that ought to be kept separate. But it sure would be been nice if Keep and Tasks could talk to each other in some sort of meaningful way. Also, while I appreciate how minimalist Task's material design layout is, I can't help but feel that there's too much white. This thing needs a dark mode.

This is what Tasks look like in Gmail.

Where Tasks really shines is with its integration with Gmail, which allows you to sync your to-dos across multiple devices on both mobile and desktop. It's a needed improvement to the Tasks drop-down option in Gmail, which is getting its own revamp, complete with smart replies, snooze notifications for incoming emails, a brand new look, and more.

While Tasks still has a long way to go before it rivals something like Todoist in terms of features, by integrating Tasks with Gmail and Google Calendar, it seems we may be slowly working towards a world with less disjointed Google apps.

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