google wear os smartwatch

After its acquisition of Fitbit last year and accompanying teasing from Google itself, many are hoping to see a revamp to Wear OS particularly in the realm of fitness/health tracking. Now, a survey from Google directly is giving us a glimpse into what sort of health tracking features Google may be working on for the platform.

Google’s Wear OS is an imperfect platform with a solid foundation, but its biggest flaw by far has always been health features. Where Apple and Samsung push the boundaries of what kind of data smartwatches can capture, Google seemed happy just capturing basic step and heart rate data.

The folks over at Droid-Life have now spotted evidence that Google may change that. The survey, rolling out through Google’s User Experience Research program, asks participants for the features they want added to Wear OS to improve the platform and it’s obvious that Google has a big interest in knowing what health features these users want. Below is a list of the features Google mentions in this survey.

  • SPO2 Tracking: Keeps track of the level of oxygenation in the blood and alerts if levels fall below normal levels
  • Smart Alarms: Wakes you up in the morning at the appropriate time in your sleep cycle so you feel more rested
  • Sleep Apnea Detection: Monitors and detects symptoms of sleep breathing abnormalities and sends out alerts and advice
  • Sleep Analysis: Analysis of sleep quality, and reasons for not sleeping well, and advice on improving sleep patterns
  • Heartbeat Alerts: Monitors heartbeat and sends alerts if an irregular heartbeat is detected
  • Automatic Workout Detection: Your smartwatch would automatically be able to detect when you start a workout and prompt you to start logging the activity
  • Rep Detection: Automatic detection for number of reps for activities (e.g. push ups, squats, etc.)
  • Activity Logging: Ability to manually track and edit different types of workouts and activities
  • Recovery Time: Tracks the time needed between workouts to make sure that you are fully recovered
  • Stress Tracking: Automatically monitors your level of stress to help you build better awareness to manage stress
  • Medical Device Pairing: Pair watch with medical devices (e.g. blood sugar, blood pressure monitors) so that readings can be synchronized and accessed on the watch
  • Gym Equipment Pairing: Pair watch to compatible gym equipment for more accurate tracking of your activities
  • Indoor Air Quality: Monitors the air quality of an indoor environment
  • Activity/Vitals Tracking: Automatically monitor and capture metrics for basic vitals and activities
  • Share Vitals: Automatically share your heart rate and vitals with emergency services if you’ve been in an accident
  • Micro-logging: Quick and easy way to manually log how you are feeling and what you are doing
  • Water-Intake Tracking: Automatically tracks the number of glasses of water you drink with reminders over the course of the day to make sure that you are well hydrated
  • Food & Calorie Tracking: Manually track food and calorie intake over the course of a day
  • Flights of Stairs: Automatically keep track of the number of flights of stairs that you climb
  • Breathing Exercises: Guided breathing exercises and reminders to help you relax and practice mindfulness
  • Compass: Built-in compass to help you find your direction while hiking or driving
  • Elevation Tracking: Keep track of climbing, descending and changes in altitude during workouts
  • Cycle Tracking: Automatically keep track of your cycle and fertility

So that’s a lot of stuff. There’s no guarantee Google would implement all of these features into Wear OS in the immediate future, but these are all clearly on the company’s radar as far as things people want. As it stands today, none of these are supported by Google Fit in the ways Google is explaining either.

What does this all mean? Essentially, Wear OS might soon get a whole lot better at health features. Or, it might not. Right now, we really don’t know since, after all, this is just a survey. However, Google’s in-depth, focused questions and answers here strongly suggest the company is working on a big overhaul for Wear OS in terms of how it handles health.

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Ben Schoon

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