At I/O 2021, Google announced that its wearable platform would do a better job of highlighting first-party services, among other tentpoles. This includes YouTube Music, Google Maps, Pay, and Assistant, with a brief preview of those Wear OS apps provided today.
The biggest announcement is a YouTube Music app for Wear OS that lets you download songs and playlists for offline listening. This capability has been absent from the platform for the past few months following the deprecation of Google Play Music. Today, you only have a basic media notification and control of what’s playing on your phone.
The “Downloads” view simply shows your Offline Mixtape and Your Likes at the very top, similar to the mobile clients. YouTube Music will automatically sync your favorite and recent tunes, with this capability just “for subscribers” that pay for Premium.
Next is Google Pay for Wear OS becoming available in 26 additional countries for a sizable expansion from the existing 11 (Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Poland, Russia, Spain, the UK, and the US). You’ll also be able to pay for transit in more than 200 major metros with your wearable.
Meanwhile, Google Maps will let you navigate without your phone. Google today did not share what the new Assistant experience will be beyond noting that all these have been “revamped with our new design principles and expanded capabilities.”
Google also shared that Fitbit will be available on Wear watches, down to the Today view that shows all your stats and goal celebrations.
More about Wear OS:
- Wear OS emulator gives a tantalizing glimpse at the Android 11-based redesign [Video]
- Current Wear OS owners have to wait until ‘later this year’ to find out if they’ll get the new version
- Spotify for Wear OS will soon be able to download music and podcasts
- Samsung teases plans to release a Wear OS smartwatch w/ support ‘long into the future’
- Fitbit will make ‘premium’ smartwatches based on Wear OS
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