Shopping list

Ironic as it sounds, I hate that my shopping list is blocked in Google Shopping

I have 99 problems, and unfortunately, my shopping list is one. Ever since Google moved shopping lists from Google Keep to Shopping as a service last April, I and many others have been continually frustrated by the move. The new location for them is not bad in itself. It lets you have more special grocery features like sorting by department, for example, and can be added over voice, but having it stuck in a webpage on your phone’s browser while you shop is all just weird.

This means you can’t access it without a cellular connection, and I’ll be the first to tell you that I experienced it in real time! Back when it was integrated into the Shopping app for Android, I could access my grocery list in the middle of Publix even if I fell victim to their metal roof or a bad storm – not anymore. At least not before Google adds better offline support for PWAs, which it is working on.

Then there’s the annoying case of having to add that web app to your phone’s home screen using the “Add to Home Screen” feature in the browser menu. You can do that, but not only will you get out of the way, you’ll get out of the way for a fairly generic icon with a Chrome browser icon attached to it. It feels improvised, half-baked, and in line with Google’s ethos right now.

It’s clear that the move from Keep (where everything was fine, by the way) to Shopping for lists was fueled by Google’s drive to push users to purchase said products through its Shopping service to compete with Amazon. Unfortunately, this decision caused the user experience to suffer greatly, and continues to suffer a year later. I don’t know if Google has a bigger plan in play here, but it feels like they set it up and forgot about it and now we’re all suffering the consequences.

The problems don’t end there though – attempting to add a grocery item by voice via Google Assistant is currently plagued with issues as Google can’t seem to make up their minds on how it wants users to proceed. . Saying “Hey Google, show me my shopping list” doesn’t open your list on the web where Google redirected it. Instead, it opens a Google Keep note called “Shopping” – assuming you have one. If you don’t, it will open Keep and return no results! What? Why is this a thing? It feels like some of the old shopping list functionality maintained in Keep has either been left there, or Google is keeping it there so it can put things back the way they were if Shopping fails.

Also, asking “Hey Google, add peanut butter to my shopping list” or something similar on Android will open my Keep note and add it, but if I do it through a smart home device like the Nest Hub or mini, it tries to add to the shopping list in Google Shopping. Then if I ask Assistant to remove it from my list, instead of removing it from Shopping on the web where it added it, it tries and fails to remove it from Keep’s “shopping” list note , where I have never placed it! I know this happens because it says “Sorry, couldn’t find peanut butter on your shopping list” even though I literally just added it! Insert Hulk GIF here – that’s how I feel even writing this.

Once again, the whole experience is broken and disjointed because Google wanted to play with it and valued its lucrative services over user experience. I shouldn’t be surprised, but something will give eventually, won’t it? Maybe, maybe not. People will continue to use these services despite their incongruity with their expectations – myself included – in hopes that they will improve through feedback, but so far it hasn’t seemed to work.

Shopping lists should have stayed in Google Keep, and you can “keep” them there if you’re not interested in relying on the convenience of voice to add and remove things, but for me that just won’t work not. Users shouldn’t have to lower the bar so much and so often just to benefit from something, but that’s just my personal opinion. If Google were serious about trying to create a cohesive system for task management – ​​and I consider errands to be tasks – then it should move the listings to Google Chat’s room tasks and allow us to access them by voice. to add or remove items. I’ve been running the grocery store here for a while, but without voice automation in my smart home, I forgot to add things and that makes it worthless.

For now, I’ve gone back to lists in Shopping on the Web, but having these items out of reach via an app and away from my other tasks for the day makes me forget to check what I need to buy, and it sucks. Let me know if you’ve been frustrated with this whole system, and also how you’re currently using Google’s services to remember milk.