Google’s Wear OS is often called sloppy, and it’s honestly an apt description when you hear stories like this. For the past few months, the “Hey Google” keyword in Wear OS has been broken.
Reports on Reddit and Google Issue Tracker show that the keywords “OK Google” and “Hey Google” to activate the Assistant have not been working on Wear OS smartwatches. The issue apparently first appeared around November 2020 and has gone almost unnoticed since then, aside from the occasional Reddit thread. The people of Droid-life I found reports dating back to June, which is well worth an “Ouch!”
Assistant is one of the main selling points for Wear OS smartwatches, as the only other wearable devices that officially support Google Assistant come from Fitbit, now owned by Google.
This issue doesn’t affect the ability to use Google Assistant on Wear OS, thankfully, but it makes it a bit more difficult to access. Without keyword support, you’ll need to press and hold the power button on your watch to activate the Assistant immediately, or use the touchscreen to activate it from the far left channel.
At this point, Google has not publicly acknowledged the problem or promised a solution.
This really does anything but instill confidence in Google’s support for Wear OS, and the fact that it took someone so long to figure it out really makes matters worse. The company said its purchase of Fitbit was, in part, to boost Wear OS as a platform, but neglecting a relatively central feature of its operating system for most of the year isn’t … a good sign. At least the Google Assistant works great on Fitbit.
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