Google Shapes Future with Android Wear

Just last week, Google announced its Android Wear; mobile devices worn on the body that are designed to provide notifications, quick responses, directions and other ‘useful information when you need it most’ and ‘intelligent answers to spoken questions’.

“Imagine having useful, actionable information there precisely when you need it, automatically,” teases David Singleton, Android’s Director of Engineering.

To make that a reality, Google is believed to be working with a number of device makers including, HTC, LG, Samsung, Asus and Motorola as well as chip makers and other fashion brands like Fossil to create what Singleton describes as ‘an ecosystem of watches in a variety of styles, shapes and sizes’.

Android Designer Alex Faaborg says that Android Wear needs to be fast and ‘glanceable’ to work. “There’s really only two components; the information that’s most relevant to you and the ability to speak to it and do a quick command,” Faaborg explains.

Information that moves with you

Android Wear is not designed to take over from your smartphone or other mobile devices but simply provide notifications and quick responses as you need them.

According to Google’s own blog, Android Wear is designed to provide you with four simple things, at least for starters:

  1. Handy information as you need it;
  2. Answers to voice questions;
  3. Tools to support health and fitness goals; and
  4. Access and control your other devices.

What can Android Wear do?

Android Wear like smartwatches utilise Google Now to provide information like weather, traffic details, booking information or flight details that it knows is relevant to the wearer.

Google Now gets to know what you use your device for, common locations, appointments and other repeated actions to put together the most relevant content for you. Plus, with a growing bank of Knowledge Graph data, Google Now can further personalise the material it delivers up to you in the Google Now ‘card system’ that you can swipe between.

Google Now also enables you to instruct your phone to reply to messages, make calls and perform other functions from voice instructions.

You’ll see some of the specialised Google Now cards in this video including:

  • Activity summary (walking/cycling)
  • Boarding pass
  • Events
  • Event reminders
  • Flights
  • Location reminders
  • Nearby events
  • Next appointment
  • Places
  • Public alerts
  • Public transit
  • Sports
  • Time reminders
  • Traffic and transit; and
  • Weather

And to provide quick answers to voice questions like “What’s the football score?” Ok Google takes over. Take a look at this video to see Android Wear in action.

Developers encouraged to innovate with Android Wear

In a separate video, Android Wear is introduced to developers who they hope will be inspired to develop new apps that make use of the unique Android Wear interface.

Android Designer, Alex Faaborg is enthusiastic about what’s to come, saying “I’m really interested in seeing applications that are unlike anything we’ve ever seen before. We’re going to see a lot of innovation from developers in this space. This is just wide-open, blue-sky territory for people to dive in and create new experiences.

A Preview SDK is now available for developers who want to get started modifying existing apps and developing new ones specifically for Android Wear.

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