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Google Tasks is easily the most underrated Google app

Google Keep Hero
Google Keep Hero (Image credit: Jeramy Johnson / Android Cnetral)

Even though there is a robust network of third-party app developers on Android, some of my favorite apps come from Google itself. It's probably no surprise that I spend a ton of my time — both on my phone and on my computer — in apps like Gmail, Calendar, and YouTube, but there's another Google app that I rely on which probably doesn't make it on many home screen setups, and that is Google Tasks.

I'll give you a minute to clean up the coffee you probably just spit up after reading that sentence, but I meant it. I think Google Tasks is one of the most underrated Google apps available, though there are certainly many others that could make this claim. Like my colleague Ara Wagoner, I, too, have a soft spot in my heart for Google Keep, but as much value as I get from that app, several days may go by between using it. That's just not the case for Google Tasks. It's the low-key top-level productivity app for me.

What is Google Tasks?

Google Tasks at Google Play Store

Source: Google (Image credit: Source: Google)

Google Tasks is an easy-to-use, relatively basic task manager and to-do list maker that is freely available across multiple platforms, including Android, iOS, and web. Launched in 2008, it has been around in some form or fashion for about as long as Android itself, though it started as a web-first application.

There are many competing productivity apps for personal and professional use that you're probably more familiar with, even though Tasks is basically built-in to Gmail and the Google Workspace platform. I myself have used much more robust apps like Todoist, Evernote, and Asana, and while those apps have a ton of useful features, ultimately, I discovered that I wasn't really using them that often. Instead, I've found that Google Tasks can handle all of my basic reminder needs, and along the way, I've discovered ways in which it has added some impressive and even complex boosts to my productivity.

What is so great about Google Tasks?

Google Tasks Drive Web 1

Source: Android Central (Image credit: Source: Android Central)

In the past few years, I've been all about simplifying my life in whatever way possible. Part of this included getting rid of physical objects that I didn't really need or that didn't add value to my life, Marie Kondo-style, but just as important was the digital decluttering that I've recently attempted. I've deleted dozens of apps and unsubscribed from all sorts of services and email lists in an attempt to pair down what I want to give my attention to, and this has included productivity apps as well. Thankfully, most of what I need or want to get done can be done easily within the Google app ecosystem and specifically within Google's own apps.

Google Tasks Docs Web

Source: Android Central (Image credit: Source: Android Central)

One of the first things that drew me into using Google Tasks was just how well it integrates with Gmail and the Google Apps/Workspace suite. You can pop open Tasks with just a click of the apps bar to the right of Gmail, Docs, Drive, Sheets, and Slides. This is extremely useful when you need information from an outstanding task for another project you're working on or keep an eye on what else you have to do that day/week while updating a report or presentation.

Google Tasks Gmail Web 2

Source: Android Central (Image credit: Source: Android Central)

I particularly get a lot of use out of the Tasks integration with Gmail and Calendar. Inbox management is always a hot topic that frustrates people to no end, and one way to remember those important emails is to leave them marked as unread or to snooze them for later. However, that can still clutter your mailbox and doesn't necessarily provide context as to why you wanted to deal with a message at a later date. But thanks to Gmail's integration with tasks, you can turn any email into a Task with just a click, assign it a due date, and add notes for context. Brilliant! Inbox zero, here I come!

Google Tasks' integration with other Google apps is part of what makes it so indispensable for me.

I also occasionally create tasks directly from the Calendar app (if I'm already in the Calendar app anyway), and I also appreciate that whenever I give a task a specific due date and/or time, it shows up on my Calendar. This is great for considering how to balance my workload on a daily and weekly basis, and it shows how my to-do list lines up with my meetings and other time-based commitments.

Google Tasks is admittedly a bit simplistic in its user interface, and even though I consider that a "pro" for using it, others may take a look at the app and dismiss it as not robust enough for their needs. But hiding behind that simplistic design are some pretty powerful task management tools, like the ability to create recurring tasks, multiple lists, and even sub-tasks on a project. I use these features frequently when I'm content planning for a story or topic or to help me remember all the steps I need to follow when editing articles on the site.

Source: Android Central

When I'm on the go, I use Tasks widgets to quickly glance at what I need to do, whether that be my wife's honey-do list or our family grocery list. And it doesn't matter which phone I'm using because the Tasks widget works great on both Android and iOS. Plus, with location-based reminders, I don't even have to remember to pull up my grocery list when I roll into Whole Foods or HEB.

The two biggest downsides of Tasks for me are that it doesn't let you tag others or share lists like other to-do apps such as Todoist or even Google Keep do and that it doesn't have a stand-alone web app like Keep or Docs or Drive. However, the fact that it is integrated directly into those other apps does lessen the blow. Plus, when I'm on a Chromebook or my phone, I can always use the Android app, and it works just fine.

Your next task is to download Google Tasks

Google Tasks 2020 Lifestyle

Source: Andrew Myrick / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Andrew Myrick / Android Central)

You may think that I'm a bit silly by gushing so much over Google Tasks, but I have little doubt that once you give it a fair shake, you'll agree that it's one of the best to-do apps out there. Whether you're using it in the browser or on one of the best Android phones, I think you'll get a ton of use out of it, just as I do.

Jeramy is proud to help *Keep Austin Weird* and loves hiking in the hill country of central Texas with a breakfast taco in each hand. When he's not writing about smart home gadgets and wearables, he's defending his relationship with his smart voice assistants to his family. You can follow him on Twitter at @jeramyutgw.

20 Comments
  • No recurring items breaks the deal for me. I use Tasks.org, an open source donation-ware Astrid clone which supports just about everything Google's app does and quite a bit more. Perfect for daily reminders which don't warrent calendar entries.
  • Google Tasks does have recurring tasks now. I use them all the time
  • Pro Tip: Read the chuffing article before commenting. It'll take you far in life. It says in the article recurring is a feature.
  • I would have liked to see a comparison with Microsoft Notes and Microsoft ToDo
  • This article seems like a paid shill. MS OneNote, Outlook and their integration with To Do blows Tasks out of the water by a mile. When the author wrote: "But hiding behind that simplistic design are some pretty powerful task management tools, like the ability to create recurring tasks, multiple lists, and even sub-tasks on a project." It's a giveaway that he either lives in an isolated bubble but those are the bare-bones features for the simplest task managers - nothing to even mention. But he did bring up tagging others on tasks later on - when he should been more gutsy and transparent, directly saying, 'assign tasks and sub-tasks'. If you want a real task manager, I suggest trying Any.Do (free).
  • "MS OneNote, Outlook and their integration with To Do blows Tasks out of the water by a mile." Not if you're using Google's services they don't. Outlook Calendar doesn't come close to Google Calendar. But agreed it's neat how Outlook and Microsoft To Do integrate. I don't have use for it because I prefer Google's online services to Microsoft's though.
  • Location based tasks? I think you are confusing yourself with Google Keep that has those. Google Tasks does not location based reminders yet. Not mentioned, but they recently added IFTTT integration which has heavily brought me on as a convert.
  • Google Tasks doesn't even have reminders. But yes you're right Location Based Reminders are in Google Keep and Google Assistant. Tasks can't be location based.
  • This is pretty much a paid advertisement.
  • Haha why would Google pay me to promote a free app? I just like it. If you don't, that's okay too :)
  • As typical google, they have keep, tasks, reminders in calender, and reminders in assistant. Google as usual.
  • Tasks and Reminders are both in Google Calendar too. You can add a Reminder in Google Calendar or Google Assistant. It's the same reminder list. It actually makes sense to have it in both places.
  • That overlap is frustrating to be sure, and confusing.
  • Why is it confusing to have the choice to create a reminder from Assistant or Calendar? It makes sense in both.
  • No ability to have tasks to be created based on when last time task was completed. That is "every 30 days from last time task was completed". I use TickTick for all my tasks needs. Google tasks is lagging behind and seems to be abandoned by Google since nothing new were added to them for quite sometime.
  • Yeah agreed. Recurring tasks in Google Tasks suck. If you Complete a recurring task it completes the whole task and not just the individual task. For example: I use it for my yearly bills but I can't complete the task when I've looked if my broadband is still good value for money because it'll complete next year's task too. Why the hell would a recurring task complete the whole frigging task when I just want to complete the current task? It means you can't ever complete a recurring task, even though you've actually completed that task for the day, month, week, year.
  • Google Tasks should have been integrated into the Gmail app in the same way as Google Chat.
  • It should be integrated into Google Calendar. It's got nothing to do with email. Google Chat no place in Gmail other than they want people to use it.
  • Not a bad thought
  • It's good but isn't perfect: 1. There's no way to search your Tasks. What? 2. If you Complete a recurring task it completes the whole task and not just the individual task. For example: I use it for my yearly bills but I can't complete the task when I've looked if my broadband is still good value for money because it'll complete next year's task too. Why the hell would a recurring task complete the whole frigging task when I just want to complete the current task? It means you can't ever complete a recurring task, even though you've actually completed that task for the day, month, week, year.