Despite a pending sale to Verizon and an investigation into its data breaches, Yahoo had the time to make an assistant.

Called Captain, it's one of the cooler services Yahoo has put out in recent years. It's not a voice-activated assistant or anything like that. Instead, it is a new take on how we use artificial intelligence to manage our busy schedules. And you don't need to download or even use a dedicated app to take advantage of its useful features. You simply talk to Captain over text. Here's everything you need to know about it.

Captain is an SMS-based digital assistant, though Yahoo has described it as "a bot assistant that streamlines family logistics through text 
without downloading any app". It primarily combines text with group reminders and shared shopping lists in real-time.

Although it is considered an assistant, Captain is obviously not as powerful as Apple's Siri or Amazon's Alexa or Google Assistant. The neatest thing about the service is that it acts as an intermediary between you and other people in your family. The point here is to lessen some of the burden around having to manage your life, your spouse's schedule, and your kids' activities.

For instance, you can text Captain to remind your husband that your daughter needs to be picked up at 3pm, and it'll also remind your daughter that her dad is coming to get her soon. Yahoo said Captain helps your family stay organized by keeping shared reminders, grocery lists, to-do lists, and more for your entire family. You can learn more from the Yahoo Captain website.

Simply text “hi” to the number 773-786 to get started using Captain. You'll then have to accept the terms, and then Captain will walk you through how to update a shared shopping list, set reminders, and add family members to the group.

To invite family members, text “add member [name]” to 773-786. For instance, you can text “add member Stuart”, and then Captain will send you the instructions to invite Stuart to the group. You can learn more about adding family members here.

Your family can add, remove, and query shared lists and reminders through text messages. You can, for instance, text Captain at 776-786 to set up a timed reminder for your son to pick up the dry cleaning on Sunday. See the full list of supported commands here.

Captain works with all US mobile carriers that accept SMS short codes.

Captain is free to use. However, standard text rates apply. If you have unlimited texting, you shouldn’t see any charges for using Captain.

Yahoo recently admitted to two massive data breaches, so you're probably wondering if Captain is safe.

The first thing to keep in mind is that Captain is used entirely through text messaging, so there’s no Yahoo account required. Captain will also only share your list and reminders with people in your group. It does collect information that you provide to set up profiles, including names, phone numbers, and email addresses, but it only keeps "anonymised user dialogs for training models and product improvements".

Also, although Captain doesn't integrate with any other calendar, list, or reminder app, it does store your family’s shopping list and shared reminders. See the Security at Yahoo webpage more information about Yahoo's various security steps.

Check out Captain's FAQ page.