While killing Google Assistant for some watches, Wear OS may add a Tile for others

Google Pixel Watch with Google Assistant
(Image credit: Chris Wedel/Android Central)

What you need to know

  • A new Google Assistant update shows future support for a Wear OS Tile, according to 9to5Google.
  • The Tile will show suggested Assistant queries and the Assistant mic button, plus an option to edit the Tile and add your own favorite shortcuts.
  • There's no word yet on when this feature will become available.
  • Wear OS 2 watches will soon lose access to Google Assistant, while many Wear OS 3 watches still haven't received access.

On Wear OS watches with Google Assistant, you can easily find and tap its signature icon on your app screen or use the always-listening feature to call it up via a "Hey Google" command. But Assistant may soon get another useful way to access it: a dedicated Tile with recommended commands. 

A 9to5Google deep-dive of a recent Assistant update shows strings of code that leave little room for doubt that a Tile is coming — even if it's not currently available on any Android watches.

"<string name=”assistant_tile_title”>Assistant</string>" and <string name=”tile_edit_choose_a_suggested_action”>Choose a suggested action</string>

They also found and posted a screenshot of what the Tile would look like. You can see two suggested actions like "Set a 30 minute timer," but the code also shows the option to edit the Tile and "Create your own" action shortcut, which you can then tap without having to voice the command every time. 

A Wear OS screenshot showing two suggested Google Assistant commands — Text Mom I'm running late and Set a 30 minute timer — above a Google Assistant button

(Image credit: 9to5Google)

So if you frequently perform certain actions across different Tiles and apps, you could move this Tile directly next to your watch face and easily access them with a quick turn of the Galaxy Watch 6's rotating bezel or the Pixel Watch crown.

While this feature will probably come to Wear OS 4 sometime soon, it's also an unfortunate reminder that many other Wear OS watches still don't have Google Assistant, even as Samsung and Google tinker and improve Assistant on their watches.

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We learned today that Google will no longer support Assistant on Wear OS 2, affecting TicWatch owners who still haven't received their promised Wear OS 3 update. Even then, the new TicWatch Pro 5 running Wear OS 3 still doesn't have Assistant, either. Nor do other Wear OS 3 watches from brands Montblanc.

Fossil watches did receive Google Assistant back in June, months after receiving the Wear OS 3 update. We don't know yet if Fossil watches will receive this new Tile or if they'll need to run Wear OS 4 to access it.

While the entire Google Assistant situation on Wear OS is unfortunate, the addition of an Assistant Tile seems like a natural and useful next step for the Android watches lucky enough to support it. 

Michael L Hicks
Senior Editor, VR/AR and fitness

Michael spent years freelancing on every tech topic under the sun before settling down on the real exciting stuff: virtual reality, fitness wearables, gaming, and how tech intersects with our world. He's a semi-reformed Apple-to-Android user who loves running, D&D, and Star Wars. Find him on Twitter at @Michael_L_Hicks.