What you need to know
- The Google Pixel Watch's blood oxygen saturation sensor is finally operational after being dormant since the smartwatch's launch.
- Google's wearable device will also alert you when it detects an irregular spike or drop in your heart rate.
- Google Assistant has also expanded language support to Italian, Portuguese, Swedish, Polish, and Spanish on Wear OS.
- Spotify has also launched a new app on Wear OS, and the Pixel Watch will now automatically pause your run or walk if you need to take a breather.
Alongside the latest feature drop for Pixel phones, Google today dropped a few improvements for the Pixel Watch, the most notable of which is perhaps the long-overdue SpO2 (blood oxygen saturation) monitoring.
Google is merely making the feature official with the latest announcement, as SpO2 readings surfaced for a handful of Pixel Watch owners a few days ago. SpO2 tracking is a standard feature on many of the leading Android smartwatches, and the Pixel Watch is already equipped with hardware to support this capability right off the bat. But for some reason, it wasn't operational from the get-go, until now.
This means the wearable device will be able to display the oxygen saturation percentage from your previous night's sleep. This data can be used to monitor your sleep quality and even detect early signs of health issues like sleep apnea.
Another useful addition to the wearable device is a new capability to alert you when it detects that your heart rate is alarmingly high or low. Google notes in a blog post that this abnormality could be an indication of potential health issues, like with SpO2 readings.
If you constantly rely on Google Assistant to get help from your smartwatch, Wear OS has now expanded language support for the digital assistant to include Italian, Portuguese, Swedish, Polish, and Spanish.
For those who frequently tap the pause button if they need to take a short break during a workout, the Pixel Watch is picking up an auto-pause feature, so you no longer have to do it manually. When you resume your workout, the smartwatch will follow suit.
In addition, there are new tiles for Spotify and WhatsApp on Wear OS, so you can listen to your favorite songs or start a Spotify DJ session from your wrist. Like the feature drop for Pixel phones, these Pixel Watch updates are rolling out starting today and will take a few days to go live for everyone.
Lastly, Google will release new Metal Links bands via its online storefront and physical retail locations beginning on June 16. Options available to choose from include Brushed Silver and Matte Black, which will cost $200.
Despite a few feature gaps at launch, Google's commitment to the Pixel Watch is admirable. Regular software updates contribute to the enhancement of a device that was already regarded as one of the best smartwatches.
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Jay Bonggolto always keeps a nose for news. He has been writing about consumer tech and apps for as long as he can remember, and he has used a variety of Android phones since falling in love with Jelly Bean. Send him a direct message via Twitter or LinkedIn.