/> ED I T O R S C H O I C E IN N O V A T IO N A W A R D
X

How the Google Wear OS update improves its watches

A few new gestures make Google's watch software a lot cleaner to use. Take a tour.

Scott_Stein.jpg
Scott Stein
Wear OS watch
1 of 18 Sarah Tew/CNET

There are a lot of Google Wear OS-compatible watches out there. The new Wear OS software update should improve the experience for you. It did for me.

Wear OS watch
2 of 18 Sarah Tew/CNET

I tried an early version on a Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus, paired to a Fossil Q Explorist HR watch.

Wear OS watch
3 of 18 Sarah Tew/CNET

In the watch face, Wear OS now has swipe gestures for each direction that bring up new things. Swipe down, and a larger control panel of shortcuts (and music player access) are helpful.

Wear OS watch
4 of 18 Sarah Tew/CNET

Notifications are more compressed. Swipe up, and it's easier to scroll through them. There's less chance of missing something.

Wear OS watch
5 of 18 Sarah Tew/CNET

Google Fit is redesigned, and accessed with a swipe-left. The new goal rings are based on movement and heart rate (daily activity and more active minutes).

Wear OS watch
6 of 18 Sarah Tew/CNET

The preset activity goals feel too forgiving for me, but they're adjustable. It's still better than Google Fit used to be.

Wear OS watch
7 of 18 Sarah Tew/CNET

Swipe right, and Google Assistant is there. Voice requests can be made with a tap, and there are some suggested results that automatically pop up.

Wear OS watch
8 of 18 Sarah Tew/CNET

If you have patience, Google Assistant on-wrist is by far the best assistant versus Siri or Samsung's Bixby.

Wear OS watch
9 of 18 Sarah Tew/CNET

Google Assistant search results are a little hard to scroll through sometimes, but Assistant also brings up suggested search steps afterward in little clickable boxes.

Wear OS watch
10 of 18 Sarah Tew/CNET

As always, there are plenty of random and sometimes good watch faces in Wear OS. That's still the same.

Wear OS watch
11 of 18 Sarah Tew/CNET

Watch faces and complications on the watch faces remain the same since last year, but you can't swipe left or right to swap faces anymore. Instead, pressing and holding on a face is the only way to select.

Wear OS watch
12 of 18 Sarah Tew/CNET

The same goes for app access: Press the side button, and a scrollable list of apps is on tap.

Wear OS watch
13 of 18 Sarah Tew/CNET

Wear OS works on Android phones, and also iPhones. But iPhone users are far better off using an Apple Watch.

Wear OS watch
14 of 18 Sarah Tew/CNET

The Fossil Q Explorist is a solid example of current-generation Wear OS-compatible watches: It has NFC payments and heart rate, which last year's Android Wear watches often lacked.

Wear OS watch
15 of 18 Sarah Tew/CNET

If you're curious, here's a look at just the watch. Full review to come. But if you have an Android Wear/Wear OS watch currently, the new Wear OS update is a big help for easier at-a-glance access.

Wear OS watch
16 of 18 Sarah Tew/CNET

Take a look at a few more pictures of the Google Wear OS update.

Wear OS watch
17 of 18 Sarah Tew/CNET
Wear OS watch
18 of 18 Sarah Tew/CNET

More Galleries

The best games on Nintendo Switch

More Galleries

The best games on Nintendo Switch

41 Photos
Movies coming in 2021 and 2022 from Netflix, Marvel, HBO and more

More Galleries

Movies coming in 2021 and 2022 from Netflix, Marvel, HBO and more

67 Photos
The new Kia Niro crossover has a lot more style

More Galleries

The new Kia Niro crossover has a lot more style

8 Photos
2021 best new TV shows to watch, stream, obsess about

More Galleries

2021 best new TV shows to watch, stream, obsess about

65 Photos
Global 2022 Ford Ranger gets stronger styling, more infotainment tech

More Galleries

Global 2022 Ford Ranger gets stronger styling, more infotainment tech

7 Photos
The 2022 Kia Stinger 2.5T is a lovely liftback

More Galleries

The 2022 Kia Stinger 2.5T is a lovely liftback

40 Photos
The 51 best VR games

More Galleries

The 51 best VR games

53 Photos