Tuesday , December 18 2018 Ausdroid » News » Popular shopping list app Out of Milk gets Google Home app and Alexa skill

If you’re like most people I’ve spoken with you’re more than a little displeased that Google pulled the Assistant powered Shopping list out of Google Keep and inexplicably placed it several menus deep in the Google Home app. Since that happened I’ve been looking for the perfect shopping app that integrates with Google Home, and I’m happy to say our choices are growing.

For years I’ve been an Out of Milk user (I use keep for personal lists). It is a simple shopping list app that meets all of my requirements; it’s multi user, cross platform (for my iOS-toting wife), has a Web interface, allows me to “categorise my lists” so the list appears in the same order as my local supermarket isles and its sync is reliable which is important when your partner adds that extra item while you’re actually doing the shopping.

The one thing it was missing in the post-Voice Assistant world was a Google Assistant app, well now it has one, in fact it has both an Assistant App and an Alexa Skill. During my regular scan for cool things to do with my Google Home/ Google Assistant, I happened across a new app for Out of Milk for Assistant in the list.

I immediately linked my account and started to play. Speaking of linking accounts for some reason Google oauth didn’t work from an Oreo device, I had to use a 7.1 device to get it linked; keep that in mind if you have issues. What did I think? In short I like it — it’s not perfect and I already have a list of extra features/ functionality/ interaction modes I’d like, but considering it’s not officially announced yet I think I’ll give the developers a bit of time to iterate.

When you link your account via Assistant Out of Milk will create a new list called Google Home. This will be the default list for adding items via Google Assistant, I’d assume that if you link to your Alexa it will create an Echo or Amazon list in a similar fashion. You can ask the Assistant to change lists simply by asking “Change to Shopping list” for example. I did find a little wonk with which list would be the “default” but I didn’t experiment too long; I simply deleted the Google Home list and then it was simple.

To use Out of Milk you must first summon the app by asking “Hey Google, Talk to Out of Milk”, I shortened this with a shortcut and so now saying “Shipping list” or “List” will start the app on Assistant. Once launched you can:

  • Add items
  • Remove items
  • Review your list
  • Change your default list or
  • Ask Out of Milk what it can do

These are the only commands we have gotten to work thus far. To be clear in order to add items to your Out of Milk list you must first launch the app via Assistant. It would be good if either Google let you set out of milk as your default list provider so you could directly access it without invoking the app at all, or if you could use a dedicated phrase to pass through an item to out of milk for adding or removing items. Eg. “Hey Google, Ask Out of Milk to add X”. Using a shortcut you could then program that to be much shorter.

Again, the app has not been formally announced by the developers as yet, nor do I know what is permissible by Google so I’ll give them a bit of time to get the app ship-shape.

I experimented with the Assistant App on several devices and a couple of Google Homes and generally found it accurate and it updated the main list very quickly. Unfortunately, like all Assistant functionalities, it is hampered by slow internet speeds and slower than desirable voice recognition and response speeds. This isn’t the fault of Out of Milk, that’s just what it’s like to use one of these Virtual Assistants, at least with my internet connection.

One issue I did experience with the voice interface is that when you add an item it doesn’t place it into its category. I tried adding a few items and then adding those items to the relevant categories, then removing and re added them. Unfortunately, at present, the categories don’t remain associated. Hopefully, this is something that the developers can fix in a future update.

Unfortunately, like most Assistant Apps Out for Milk does not work with Australia English; in our testing it was localised for US English and UK English.

If you’re looking for a good shopping list app that is compatible with Google Assistant/ Home or you’re already an Out of Milk user why not link Out of Milk to your Assistant and have a play.

Source: Google.

Duncan Jaffrey   Journalist

Duncan has been interested in technology since coding "Mary had a little Lamb" in Basic on his ZX Spectrum. A fan of all things Android, most days you'll find Duncan trawling the web for Android news or quietly editing away on Map Maker.

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Andrew

Would be good if you could actually provide instructions on how you got to that “Explore” page please

Colin Harkness
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I was excited until I read the last two sentences. Another reasons to switch back to US English on my Home.

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