Google seems to be internally testing something called Memory, which will live inside the Google Assistant and search app. It appears to be an ‘internal test feature’ in early development and you want to allow you to capture pretty much anything and ask the Assistant to remember it later using voice commands. There is also an interface that will allow you to organize and search Memories at will and 9to5Google was able to get a ton of screenshots. We’ll post a few below, but be sure to check out the rest of Abner Li later. Here is a list of all the memories that you can capture with the Assistant:
- Events (edit)
- Handwritten notes
- TV shows
In the past, you could ask the Google Assistant to remember your favorite color, date of birth, and other basic information. When asked to tell you what the answers to these questions were, the Assistant will dive into your hidden memory and present the answer you gave earlier. ‘Assistant Memory’ as a service seems to overload that cute little feature and turn it into an accessible powerhouse that you can use directly and I have to admit that’s really cool.
However, if all of this sounds familiar by now, it’s because we covered many of these capabilities multiple times when we talked about Google’s super-secret collections feature. I guess now it’s no longer a secret. Not only that, but it seems like it’s still very important to Google and it’s morphing into something a bit more automated and smart. The collections are fantastic, but there is still a lot of manual work involved; feels more like a Pinterest alternative than anything else. Linking the ability to collect things that are valuable to you in the Assistant and “Get Google to do it,” so to speak, might be exactly what content curation needs right now.
There is a ‘Themes’ section as you can see in the screenshot above that allows you to ‘Create Theme’, and this gives me some serious ‘New Collection’ vibes; It even features the Google Collections bookmark icon that I keep pointing to to virtually every Google service lately. Since it allows you to collect much of the same content from the web that you can with Collections, I think Memory will one day replace it entirely.
If this means that Google Collections is indeed going the way of the dodo, I won’t be mad. As enthusiastic as I am with them, as I have said many times, and I keep at it, it is natural that these things take on new forms. It’s like I always say: Google is a constantly evolving company with constantly evolving ideas and those who enjoy its products the most are the ones who can assimilate that fact. We continually see this shift in their services increasingly towards artificial intelligence and machine learning, so this really isn’t a big surprise. The important thing to me is that the idea of collecting things is the future and it is being preserved. Not only that, but the idea of ’bookmarks’ is still being revamped so it’s beneficial to me!
The fact that Memory also allows you to capture a lot of the things in the real world list above makes me think that it will directly use Google Lens, which was recently placed on Android’s Google search bar and given a new icon. Coincidence? I do not think so! If you capture things from a digital source, say a website or document, the Assistant will apparently preserve its context and source as part of that memory card.
There will be special cards for things like Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Drawings, Forms, Sites, Jamboards, and more, and all of your memories will be presented to you in a Google Discover-style feed. On the bottom shelf of the Memory feed, there is a Snapshot icon, so I think Google will want you to review your memories every day as part of, or in addition to, your Snapshot. The latter already shows you a lot of things about your day, including upcoming Calendar events, Tasks, and more from the Assistant, so I can also see the company combining these one day.
Depending on the type of “memory card” and the information (I assume our brains need memory cards now? Let the Android revolution begin!), The Assistant will show you the corresponding contextual options. Say for example you have an incoming flight and it is saved to a memory card, which I assume will be ‘automagically’ taken from Gmail as the Assistant already does, then you can see options to check the flight status. If it is a parcel shipment, you may see an option to track it. If it’s a movie or TV show, you might see an option to watch a trailer, and so on. All this automation makes me drool a bit, it’s fantastic!
You will also see in the screenshot provided that there is a ‘Read Later’ option. If Google intends to link articles from Google Discover, Google News, or Chrome’s Reading List feature (hopefully all three!), Then it could mean that many of the features we’ve been tracking for the past year may be getting closer. more than ever. before, and it’s about time. To further evidence this, Google is working to allow you to collapse your Chrome Tab Groups into your Reading List for later retrieval.
There’s also a new Chrome Memories feature on Chromebooks we’ve been keeping an eye on. Memories on the web previously led us to a broken page, but now when visiting chrome: // memories we are presented with text in the middle of the screen that says “based on previous web activity”. We already have chrome: // history and Google Activity to track web activity, so why is a memories section necessary?
This sounds crazy, but listen to me for a moment: what if Google intends to use chrome: // Memories to allow you to access assistant memory (perhaps the future of Google collections?) Directly from the web browser from your desktop or Chromebook What if the assistant’s memory also includes Chrome’s reading list items? If your Reading List is becoming the new home for Collapsed Tab Groups, does that also mean that your Tab Groups will exist in your Memory and will be accessible in a new tab similar to Toby the tab manager?
There seems to be some evidence that chrome: // memories are intended for users to access their Tab Groups, and since it shares a very similar name to Google Assistant memory, is that a coincidence? Personally, I don’t think it is, and neither does Dinsan from Chrome Story.
The only progress I was able to make was finding this hashtag in the Chromium code. Within some other code change requests for the memories feature, I found mentions of browser history and tab groups.
If everything you do online is logged in your Google Activity, and many of those things are available in your Google Memory, does that mean that your Activity could one day be integrated with Memory as well? I know I’m jumping a bit here and that last one may be a bit of a stretch, but I’m a futurist, and I’m excited! Don’t forget that Google Activity tracks your activity on all your devices, not just a laptop.
Imagine, for a moment, using Google products and services, only they actually provide a more consistent experience than ever. I know, I can’t imagine it either. Google has come a long way over the years, but it would be a lie if I said that many of its services were super “well done” before launch. We’ve been waiting for the ability to add articles to a reading list for years and access them across devices, among other things, so if you’ve finally figured out a way to bring everything important to us together in one place via humanize the data and make it more personal then I’m 100% on board and can’t wait to try this out. Let’s hope it doesn’t remain our beloved kaleidoscope though – fingers crossed.