Wear OS has forever been on the struggle bus. It has failed for years to improve upon a smartwatch experience that has fallen behind almost every single smartwatch player it needs to compete with, namely Samsung and Apple. While there are still Wear OS partners who make watches, the feature set for them hasn’t grown, particularly in the area of health, which is where smartwatches and wearables have started to take a focus.
In a new survey rolling out through the Google User Experience Research program, Google is asking participants for feedback on how they can improve Wear OS. The survey is heavily focused on health tracking, from sleep metrics to SP02 tracking to automatic detection of a variety of categories to pairing with medical equipment. While this doesn’t mean we are guaranteed to see Google finally step up the Wear OS game in health, it’s almost a given that they have to. After all, they did just buy Fitbit.
The survey was broken out into pages with two questions, one about how you feel if a feature was included in a smartwatch and the other how you would feel if it wasn’t included. It also asked for participants’ top 3 improvements and how satisfied they were with their current watch.
Below, we’ve done our best to capture most of the bigger topics from the 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
As you can see from that extensive list, Google is potentially making health and fitness a big part of the Wear OS future. And they should do that, as so many of us have become more and more willing to track our personal health situations. If there really was a single area that Wear OS has severely lacked in, it’s this.
Again, there is no guarantee that this survey is hinting at the future, I would just be shocked if it wasn’t one.