Google on I / O 2022 Consumer Keynote on Wednesday announced a series of updates aimed at Wear OS and Android tablets designed to upgrade user experiences across devices – not just limited to phones. One of the most important updates coming to Wear OS is the quick access to Emergency SOS. Google also brings Google Assistant support to smartwatches. In addition, tablets based on Android get updated Google apps. Google introduced separately updated Google Wallet on Android to support things like debit cards, transit and event tickets and even studio IDs.
By bringing Emergency SOS to Wear OS, Google has begun allowing its users to instantly contact their trusted family member or call an emergency service directly from their smartwatch. Mountain View, the California headquarters company, said it is working with various partners to activate the new feature.
Google also talked about the Emergency Location Services (ELS) feature, which is designed to help first responders find you when you call for help in the event of a medical emergency or natural disaster. It was launched in markets including Bulgaria, Paraguay, Saudi Arabia and Spain earlier this year and is now available to more than a billion people worldwide, the company said.
In addition to ELS, Google has Early Earthquake Warnings in 25 countries, which are set to expand to “many of the remaining high-risk areas” around the world.
Further on Wear OS, Google said at I / O 2022 that it is bringing Google Assistant to Samsung Galaxy watches. It will soon be available on the Galaxy Watch 4 series to begin with. The Google Assistant experience on Wear OS can be used for natural voice interactions and access to features such as voice-guided navigation or reminder setting.
Google is also bringing more apps to Wear OS. These will apps like SoundCloud and Deezer that will debut on smartwatches based on Wear OS later this year. Apps including Adidas Running, Spotify, Line and KakaoTalk have already received significant updates to deliver an enhanced experience.
At last year’s I / O keynote in May, Google announced its partnership with Samsung, where Tizen combines with Wear OS. The company showed positivity towards this move by saying that there are now three times as many active Wear OS devices as there were last year. However, the exact number of active Wear OS users has not yet been revealed.
Google also revealed that new Wear OS devices are coming from Samsung, Fossil Group, Montblanc and Mobvoi, among others, later this year.
For tablets, Google announced at I / O 2022 keynote that it will update more than 20 Google apps over the next few weeks to take full advantage of the extra screen space. These will include YouTube Music, Google Maps and Messages.
Google also said it was working with other apps, including TikTok, Zoom and Facebook, to improve their experiences for users on Android tablets.
Additionally, users will be able to copy a URL or image from their phones and paste them onto your tablet.
On Android in general, Google is launching virtual cards that will be available on Chrome and at the system level to help users easily make payments without requiring them to manually enter card information such as CVV when checking out.
Google is also extending Fast Pair support to more devices, allowing users to easily configure and pair their devices. The extension was originally limited to earphones and recently reached Bluetooth headphones, Chromebooks and smart TVs.
The Google Wallet app on Android is also becoming a unified platform to help people access their debit cards, transit and event tickets, boarding and loyalty cards, and student IDs. It will also be able to store virtual car keys and vaccine records as well as digital driver’s licenses and official IDs. Google is essentially making its Wallet app on Android, similar to Apple’s Wallet.
However, in addition to adding the new features to the Wallet app, the Android maker is working to update its integrations with other Google apps and services. For example, this will allow users to see their transit map balance in Google Maps when searching for directions once the map is added to the wallet. Users will also be able to add fares to their transit maps from Google Maps by tapping the map details.
Google Wallet also comes on Wear OS with initial payment card support.
Alongside the Wallet updates, Google announced that it is updating the Rich Communication Services (RCS) messaging experience by bringing encryption to group conversations. It will be rolled out in an open beta later this year, the company said.
Google also announced the expansion of casting features for devices including Chromebook and Android Auto in car systems.