One of the best ways to help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus is to wash your hands, and Google has come up with a clever way to help users do just that. If you use a Wear OS smartwatch, a new periodic reminder will tell you to wash your hands.

As part of the v5.4.0 update for the Google Clock app on Wear OS, there’s not a periodic reminder to wash your hands. This arrives as a notification on the watch that includes a shortcut to start a timer for washing your hands. Immediately after installing that update from the Play Store on my Suunto 7 watch, the notification arrived telling me to wash my hands and offering a shortcut for the timer. The timer is also available in the app drawer (pictured above).

Clicking the notification starts a three-second timer so you can get the water going before the 40-second timer commences where you’d actually be washing your hands thoroughly. The app also clearly tells you to “always use soap.” After the timer is up, the watch buzzes and says you’ll get another reminder “in 3 hours.”

Don’t want to be reminded every few hours? Android Police notes that you can turn this notification off by long-pressing the notification and turning off its channel.

wear os wash hands

It’s been proven that washing your hands for over 20 seconds — but preferably around 40 — can kill the virus cells, which means they can simply be washed away by running water. With this helpful reminder, Google makes it extremely easy to do exactly that. This was clearly triggered by the COVID-19 outbreak, but I kind of hope Google keeps this notification around afterward. We could all use a good reminder.

I’ve always said Wear OS is pretty good at notifications, and this might prove my point better than anything else.

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