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Google just unveiled a hugely ambitious Android Wear update – here are the 3 coolest features

Published Apr 20th, 2015 2:36PM EDT
Google Android Wear Update Features
Image: Google

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With all the hype surrounding the Apple Watch, you may have forgotten that Google has a smartwatch software platform of its own called Android Wear. To remind us of this, Google on Monday took the wraps off a hugely ambitious Android Wear update that adds three important features that the platform had been sorely missing.

FROM EARLIER: This is the most useful Apple Watch app we’ve seen so far – and it’s on sale for free

The most important feature is support for Wi-Fi that will give you one more connectivity option with your Android Wear devices.

“As long as your watch is connected to a Wi-Fi network, and your phone has a data connection (wherever it is), you’ll be able to get notifications, send messages, and use all your favorite apps,” Google writes.

Google has also added support for always-on apps that remain on the display for as long as you need them to. Previously, the only “app” that was available on the screen at all times was the watch face for telling the time — now you’ll be able to have a mapping app give you directions on your watch and it won’t disappear when you put your arm down. To preserve battery power, the apps will only display in full color when your wrist is up and you’re directly looking at the watch.

And finally, Google has added a number of features designed to make using apps on the watch easier, including the ability to scroll through your app stream by flicking your wrist and the ability to draw emoji on your display using your hands.

For more details, check out Google’s full announcement by clicking here.

Brad Reed
Brad Reed Staff Writer

Brad Reed has written about technology for over eight years at and Network World. Prior to that, he wrote freelance stories for political publications such as AlterNet and the American Prospect. He has a Master's Degree in Business and Economics Journalism from Boston University.