Smartwatches based on the Wear OS 2 platform are getting updates for Google Pay, Messages, and third-party apps as a part of the new experiences that Google has announced for its existing users alongside introducing the Wear OS 3. The new Wear OS release is initially limited to the newly launched Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 series. Nevertheless, Google wants to show its continuous support for its existing users and is, thus, bringing a handful of fresh experiences to smartwatches running on Wear OS 2.
One of the major changes that Google is bringing to users on Wear OS 2 is a revamped design of Google Pay. The update brings larger credit card images to let users easily look at the cards stored in their wallet and swipe through them to find the appropriate one while making a wireless payment from their wrist.
Google has also announced the expansion of Google Pay support on Wear OS to 16 new countries that include Belgium, Brazil, Chile, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Hong Kong, Ireland, New Zealand, Norway, Slovakia, Sweden, Taiwan, Ukraine, and United Arab Emirates. These countries have had Google Pay earlier as well but not for users with a Wear OS-based smartwatch.
However, the Indian version of Google Pay is still not available on Wear OS. Google, though, has said that it is planning to expand the payments service further over time.
The second big change that Google is bringing for its existing Wear OS users is the updated Messages app. This lets you receive messages on the go and reply directly from your watch, without requiring you to take out your smartphone. You can respond with an emoji or choose from an auto-generated reply. Similarly, you can use the on-screen keyboard to type your message reply or use voice dictation to use the built-in speech-to-text engine for your reply.
Google says that the updated Messages app on your smartwatch syncs with your Android phone to offer up-to-date conversations on your wrist. All this is similar to how Apple has been offering seamless message access on watchOS since the beginning.
Alongside the updated Messages app, users on the existing Wear OS version will also be getting “new experiences” on apps including Calm, Komoot, Period Tracker, Sleep Cycle, Spotify, and Strava in the coming weeks. Google says that many of these apps will get third-party Tiles — the widgets that were introduced earlier this year to let you access information and actions by swiping left on the watchface. Exact details about which apps would get Tiles and by when are yet to be revealed.
There are other updates introduced to Google Play store to let users easily download and find apps directly from their smartwatches.
Google’s latest updates certainly suggest that the company doesn’t want its existing users to feel ignored. But it doesn’t mean that Wear OS 2 will get all good things coming to new customers through Wear OS 3. On the latest operating system, Google has introduced new Google Maps and YouTube Music apps, among other improvements.
Wear OS 3 is currently limited to the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 and Galaxy Watch 4 Classic. The new smartwatches are going on sale in select markets from August 27.