Google this morning announced a huge update to its Android Wear wearable operating system, but we’ve noticed a few things that Google might have forgotten to touch on in its release notes. The company has of course confirmed that WiFi support, always-on screen support for apps, and more features that are on the way. But there are other features, including what looks to be an actual Google Maps app and pop-up notifications, that might be coming to Android Wear as well…

The first of these looks to have been hidden in plain sight. While getting really excited over the enhancements that Google outlined in its blog post this morning, it seems that I—and most Android fans who read the post—missed an interesting screenshot in the above .gif (the one demonstrating always-on screens in apps). The center screenshot shows an app that is yet to be identified as anything currently available, and it looks a lot like Google Maps. It even uses Google’s familiar “My location” and pin icons. While this is definitely conjecture at this point considering it would be a pretty glaring mistake for the post not to mention such a big addition, it definitely looks a lot like a legit Google app.

Also, as several Android Wear manufacturers have taken to their own blogs to announce today’s update, at least one more interesting new detail surfaced. It wasn’t mentioned by Google, but Sony’s announcement of the update for its SmartWatch 3 mentions “pop up notifications”. We can assume that this likely means that notifications you receive on your phone will briefly appear above any Android Wear app you may currently be using. And since OEMs aren’t allowed to bake in their own features, we can assume that this will probably be making its way to all of the current Android Wear devices—not just Sony’s.

Here’s how the company describes the feature:

  • Much like your Android smartphone, the new Android Wear update will bring pop up notifications (even when you’re looking at something else), meaning you’ll never miss anything important

Finally, while Google did mention that the update will include the ability to draw “hundreds” of different emoji to quickly reply to texts and messages, it looks like there’s another little feature. You can currently scroll down through the list of pre-made replies to find some pre-chosen emoji, but it looks like Google is now including a button on the “Draw emoji” screen instead (or maybe additionally). Obviously we don’t have any way of knowing yet, but maybe you’ll be able to tap this button and choose from many more emoji options (without having to draw, for those of us that aren’t artists).


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Stephen Hall

Stephen is Growth Director at 9to5. If you want to get in touch, follow me on Twitter. Or, email at stephen (at) 9to5mac (dot) com, or an encrypted email at hallstephenj (at) protonmail (dot) com.