Google is hoping to change the way you communicate with your watch. The Gboard keyboard that is currently available on Android smartphones will soon be making the jump to Wear OS.
According to a forum post by a Google Support Product Manager, this will allow for faster and easier messaging from your wrist. The feature should hit your Wear OS watch in the coming days via an over-the-air update. This will replace the default Wear OS “Google Keyboard” app.
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In addition to a better UI for typing, Gboard for Wear OS brings a number of different input options. There’s support for the good-old QWERTY keyboard, along with gesture input. An emoji palette allows for other ways of expressing yourself.
Alternatively you could opt for a hands-free approach via voice input. The top row features a shortcut to the microphone. Previously you had to exit the keyboard to access the microphone.
Word suggestions (which appear in tiny cards) and auto-corrections are also available. As useful as this is on a smartphone, it should make entering text on a tiny smartwatch display a breeze. A preview screen lets you to review and edit your message.
The multiple input methods can be used to reply to a text on your watch. They can also be used to search for new apps on Google Play or enter passwords.
Gboard for Wear OS supports all languages supported by the Google operating system. By default, Gboard is in the same language as the watch system. But users can add other languages and switch between them at the press of a button.
This is a small but useful change to Wear OS. And it’s the first one in a while. It should give a bit of comfort to those fearing the search giant is planning to abandon its smartwatch operating system.
Another thing to look out for in the near future is the Google I/O. The company’s annual developer conference will be held in a virtual format between May 18th and 20th. This will feature a session on Wear OS which will cover the latest platform updates and share a range of new APIs and tools for developers.
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