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Geetasks: Google Tasks for the iPhone

Geetasks (currently at version 1.15) is a non-Google iPhone app version of Google Tasks. It's like having a self-contained, portable version of Google Tasks in your iPhone, that you can sync with real Google Tasks at your convenience, which is good for people like me, with meagre data plans on their iPhones. And because Geetasks syncs with Google Tasks, you can access your tasks from any browser on any computer. Living within the limits of its progenitor, geetasks is an easy and useful tool that has lots of room to grow, but is quite usable as is.

Caveat Emptor: I should preface this by being clear that, as of this writing, Google has not released its API for Tasks. The API is the description of the interface that programmers need to write apps. Releasing the API would imply a bit of a commitment by Google to preserve the interface during upgrades to Tasks, so that third party apps can continue to function, and to give suitable advance warning of changes to the API, so that developers can upgrade their apps in a timely manner. By not releasing the API, Google is basically saying they are free to change the Tasks interface whenever and however they want, without concern for what will happen to third party apps like Geetasks. So it is possible that Geetasks will unexpectedly break someday, and no one will be responsible.

However, this kind of behaviour is not a common occurence at Google, as far as I can tell. Since their apps are generally free, and since Google knows where its bread is buttered, and since response from Geetasks developer seems quote timely and professional, I would expect any problems arising from this to be relatively minor. But don't quote me on that.
Geetasks implements all the current functions in Google Tasks. You can create and manage multiple lists, assign due dates, and add notes. You can nest tasks, thereby implementing subtasks; operating (i.e. moving, checking off, deleting, etc) on the top-level task of a sublist applies the operation to all subtasks. Google Tasks can connect tasks to Gmail messages; Geetasks can't do that, but it does understand those links and shows them to you. You can sort tasks by date, title, and status (active or complete), and of course manually. And you can purge (delete) completed tasks in a list with one tap. Unsynced tasks are marked in red, and the title bar will tell you how many tasks are unsynced. It's also very easy to move an item from one list to another.

Both Geetasks and Google Tasks adds new tasks to the top of a list. Most other apps add new tasks to the bottom of a list. I must admit I was a little put off by this at first, because I was so used to other apps. But I did get used to it very quickly, and found I rather liked having new tasks pushed onto the top of lists. This let me add items that I knew I could do later that day, and they'd be right there at the top of the list. I found this useful in that I tended to add all kinds of tasks, knowing that I could take care of them quickly once I found a free moment.

From the point of view of GTD, this is like combining the Inbox and Action lists. Some GTD devotees might cringe at this, but for me at least, and probably also for people who prefer AutoFocus, it makes sense.

Geetasks (and Google Tasks too) currently lacks the intelligence to bring tasks that are due to your attention, but this could be added to Geetasks without having to wait for Google Tasks support.

Similarly, completed tasks are also left in place, which ends up leading to more scrolling because any one given screenful of tasks can have several completed tasks on it. Given that new tasks are added to the top of a list, moving completed items to the bottom of the list would make sense.

While some people have complained that Google Tasks (and therefore Geetasks) is too simple, I think it depends on why you want to use it - that is, it depends on how you want to manage your tasks. If you like things simple, then Geetasks is a real contender.

Indeed, if you prefer minimal task management - like AutoFocus rather than GTD - then I would urge you to consider Geetasks.

I'll give an example of how one can organize one's tasks with Geetasks in my next post.

2 comments:

  1. GeeTasks author here. Thanks for taking time to share your opinion, Fil, it's much appreciated.

    I would like to let everyone know that I regularly answer all questions sent to support email or left in the forums over at http://geetasks.com . While I do not always do as requested I appreciate and memorize each inquiry to use in my work planning. Please come visit!

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  2. I love GeeTasks, it's a really great app and perfect compliment for your iPhone if you use Tasks anyways.

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