Two weeks after updating the Google Play Store’s submission requirements to improve Wear OS app quality, Google today unveiled a substantially redesigned version of its Wear OS watch operating system. In addition to aesthetic changes, the new Wear OS has been updated to improve the speed and performance of frequently used features — health tracking, Google Assistant, and notifications.
On the health side, Google last week updated its Android app Google Fit with an all-new health tracking system co-developed with the American Heart Association and World Health Organization. The new Wear OS adds support for this system, including tracking of minutes when you’re in motion (Move Minutes) and issuing points for more strenuous physical activities (Heart Points). Users can “simply swipe left” to either start a workout or see progress towards Fit goals.
Google Assistant is being improved to be “more proactive” on Wear OS, and will be accessible by swiping right on the watch to see contextually appropriate information and suggestions. According to Google, Assistant will offer weather, commuter traffic conditions, and meetings on a normal work day, as well as suggestions about Wear OS features you haven’t tried yet. if you’re headed to the airport, the right swipe will instead show flight status and hotel reservations, as well as smart suggestions such as weather and restaurants at your destination.
Swiping up on Wear OS will take you to a new notification stream that lets you take smart actions with finger taps, while swiping down will bring up a shortcut menu including Google Pay and Find my Phone. Both of these menus have been optimized for speed, putting key watch features quickly within finger access so you needn’t dig through icon lists or other menus.
Google plans to begin rolling out the features “over the next month,” and says that some may vary by phone OS, watch, or country. The company is rumored to be launching a hero product for Wear OS, possibly a Pixel Watch, in or around October of this year.
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