Product review: Google tasks

by Michele on February 22, 2011

A review of Google tasks

A review of Google tasks

It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of Google products.  I use gmail even though my email appears to come from my domain.  I use Picasa for photos, Google Calendar, Google keyword tool, Google analytics, Google docs and Google contacts.  I love that almost everything they do, aside from being free, works great.

When I switched to an Android phone, I was stymied by what to do with my tasks and projects.  I had been using a Blackberry before that, and while the task function wasn’t overly impressive I was able to make it work.  If I wanted to stay with Google and make full use of the seamless sync between my desktop and phone it seemed that Google tasks was my only option.  The problem was that Google tasks is such a low-feature system that I had to really do some serious work-arounds to get  it to even come close to my needs.  A lot of people were complaining about it, and it seemed really out of sync with the high level of quality of their other services.  I decided to gamble and set myself up on Google tasks with the hope that soon they would upgrade the functionality and it would be as good as all the other products I use and love.

Almost a year later, I decided to switch again because it was just too hard to stay on top of everything I had to do with the system I was using at the time.  There hadn’t been any pending upgrades to the task manager announced, and a year was the longest I was willing to wait.  Things that are weak on Google tasks include:

  • There’s no way to put a recurring task in, so you can create a task that occurs every Monday, every 3 days, or 5 days after the last time you did it.
  • You can create several different lists of tasks, but only one can be viewed at a time, and if you want to view them on your calendar along with your appointments, only the list currently open in the tasks pane shows up.  If you don’t think to check all of your task lists, you could be missing things you need to do today.
  • There is no way to add a tag or a priority to a task.  This are pretty basic functions of most task managers, so it seemed like a big sacrifice to not have these functions.
  • There was no home-screen icon on the Android for tasks from Google like there was out-of-the-box for contacts, Gmail and calendar.  It seems to me that a task function is an equally important sibling of these 3 and for some reason Google treats tasks differently.

After nearly a year of making due with a task manager that just wasn’t up to the job of managing my life, both personal and business, I finally gave in and decided to look for another option.  This process will be the topic of a series of posts for which this post is first.  I just love peeking into other people’s time management systems, so if you want a peek into mine, look out for the next post.

What task management system do you use and why?  Do you sync it with your smartphone?

Comments

  1. Hi! I am a huge google fan too. Agree w/ tasks being light on the features. My ABSOLUTE favorite task mgr is Remember the Milk! I have tried dozens and RTM is amazing. It integrates w/ google calendar but my fav is the gmail extension. It has an iPhone app that is great. It supports tags, smart lists, keyboard shortcuts that once you understand the lingo it is blazing fast to add tasks w/ dates, tags, even assign to other RTM users. Sorry to gush, but it really is awesome.

    1. Michele says:

      John, thanks for your comment! It’s funny you mention RTM because that’s the task manager I picked! I had set an account up 2009 but never used it. I’ve only been on it 5 days and already it’s made a big difference in how much I accomplish. I’m not fully ramped up yet, but I can’t wait to try the Google calendar integration.

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by John Hondroulis and Michele Christensen, Michele Christensen. Michele Christensen said: Blog post: Product review: Google tasks: It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of Google products.  I use gmail eve… http://bit.ly/ecg16t […]

  3. Michele,

    I am a growing fan of Google products and use many of them as well! I must say that I passed up RTM, but perhaps I’ll give it another look.

    Currently, I’m using FreedCamp for all of my project and task management needs. It’s also great for collaborations, time tracking and invoicing. Although, I use the timetracking feature, I still do my invoicing in Wave Accounting. Google has both FreedCamp and Wave Accounting available as Chrome Apps.

    Another handy tool I’ve found is Checker Plus for Google Calendar (provides a few extras).

    1. Michele says:

      Great stuff Buffy! You just added a bunch of cool stuff to my to-do list!

  4. James says:

    I like google tasks, but if you want any more power at all, there are a lot of good, (many free) choices out there that are better. I review a bunch of them at my website. http://todolistreview.net

    1. Michele says:

      James, your site rocks! I could skip all my productivity and just read all day. I’m a productivity junkie, and you do a great job of reviewing and staying on top of a lot of apps. I’m curious why you like Google tasks, would love to hear in case I’m missing something. I love so many Google apps and use them daily if not hourly.

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