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Google’s Wear OS survey points to a bigger emphasis on health

Despite mass abandonment of Wear OS from the likes of Samsung and Huawei, it looks like Google hasn’t given up on its wearable operating system just yet. 

Droid Life has spotted that the company is rolling out a survey via its User Experience Research programme asking people what kind of features they want to see in Wear OS in future. And almost all of them relate to health.

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This isn’t surprising for a couple of reasons. Firstly because Wear OS isn’t just having its market share lunch eaten by Apple, Samsung and Huawei, but by the likes of Garmin and Polar as well. Second, and more importantly, the company has just bought Fitbit, so it would be pretty strange if it didn’t have plans in the fitness space.

In any case, plenty of things are covered and it’s fair to say that they’ll sound pretty familiar if you’ve bought a smartwatch or fitness tracker in the last couple of years. Automatic workout detection, breathing exercises, period tracking, SpO2 logging, sleep tracking, alerts of irregular heartbeats and so on.

The company has a few less common features it wants your views on: indoor air quality tracking, gym-equipment pairing, exercise recovery time and the micro-logging of how you’re feeling. It’s also not just about fitness – Google mentions a compass and smart alarms as other possible features, if there’s enough interest.

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It may seem a little dispiriting that the majority of the features Google is interested have already been seen elsewhere, but there are a couple of reasons you might not want to put anything too new and unusual on a list like this. 

Firstly, if it’s truly new and weird, then it might not be easily explainable, and people might not pick it as something they want from a survey. Second – and more importantly – if the company has something truly unique up its figurative and literal sleeve, then it doesn’t want others getting in on the act first.   

It’s up in the air as to how many of these features will ever make their way into Wear OS – you would expect survey feedback to influence that. What is clear, however, is that Google is thinking of ways to make Wear OS competitive again, and that’s something to be celebrated.   

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