Google Tasks has been somewhat ignored for the past few years. There have been no native Android or iOS apps despite this being a once-respectable service, and the company seems to have relegated a number of basic (but inadequate) task management functions to Google Keep, its note-taking platform.
That appears to no longer be the case. In conjunction with its Gmail website overhaul, Google now has a shiny new app for Tasks on Android and iOS. While in terms of functionality the app is severely lacking, its interface design itself is the clearest indication of what the company might have in store for its users with its reportedly upcoming 'Material Design 2' refresh.
Let's get this out of the way: based solely on looks, fit and finish, the Android app looks incredible. It's straightforward, has solid attention to detail in terms of animations and drop shadows and works well. The primary buttons and controls are not only clearly labeled, they also sit at the bottom of the screen, making single-handed use convenient. The use of Google's Product Sans font up top is also tasteful, and lastly, this app is part of the G Suite, so business users have a new program to play with.
Unfortunately, that's about all the good there is to say about it, because for reasons known only to Google, the app doesn't even manage to complete a bare-basic featureset.
While you can set which day on the calendar they'd like for a task to pop up, you can't set what time of the day it ought to show up. This leads directly into the next glaring oversight - there's no widget. This wouldn't be as big an issue if you could set notifications to appear at a certain time of the day, mitigating the need for glanceable information, but given that's not the case, it makes little sense.
And then, there are no app shortcuts. Again, this would not be a problem if there was a widget with shortcuts built into them, but here we are. To top it all off, there's no Google Assistant integration, which leads to the overarching fragmentation issue Google is facing with its task management platforms.
As of now, users have Google Keep and Google Assistant Reminders, which are both reasonably well-integrated with each other. Google's own Inbox email app also taps into Reminders, making the three of these an almost fleshed out task management ecosystem, but not without their own sets of drawbacks, limited functionality being an issue here as well.
As of now, any optimism regarding this new app is limited to Google carrying over the UX ideas incorporated here to its other software, because as mentioned above, the experience is fantastic, but the functionality and fragmentation problems leave much to be desired.