During its I/O 2022 consumer keynote on Wednesday, Google announced a slew of updates for Wear OS and Android tablets aimed at improving the user experience across devices — not just phones. One of the most important updates to Wear OS is quick access to emergency SOS. Google is also bringing Google Assistant support to the smartwatch. Additionally, Android-based tablets are being updated with Google applications. Google has launched an updated Google Wallet on Android separately to support things like cards, transportation and event tickets, and even ID cards.

By bringing Emergency SOS to Wear OS, Google is starting to allow its users to instantly contact a family member they or call emergency services directly from their smartwatch. The Mountain View, California-based company said it is working with various partners to enable the new feature.

Wear OS devices are getting emergency SOS alerts
Image credit: Google

Google also talked about the Emergency Location Services (ELS) feature, which is designed to help first responders find you when you call for help in a medical emergency or natural disaster situation. Launched earlier this year in markets including Bulgaria, Paraguay, Saudi Arabia and Spain, it is now available to more than 1 billion people worldwide, the company said.

In addition to the ELS, Google has issued early earthquake warnings in 25 countries and will expand to “many remaining high-risk areas” around the world.

On the Wear OS front, Google said at I/O 2022 that it will bring Google Assistant to Samsung Galaxy Watches. It will launch on the Galaxy Watch 4 series soon. The Google Assistant experience on Wear OS can be used for natural voice interactions and access to features like voice-controlled navigation or setting reminders.

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Google is also bringing more apps to Wear OS. Apps like SoundCloud and Deezer will debut on Wear OS-based smartwatches later this year. Apps including Adidas Running, Spotify, Line and KakaoTalk have received major updates to provide a better experience.

At its I/O keynote last May, Google announced a partnership with Samsung, and Tizen is being integrated with Wear OS. The company says there are now three times as many active Wear OS devices as last year, thus signaling the positivity of the move. However, the exact number of active Wear OS users has not been disclosed.

Google also revealed that later this year, companies like Samsung, Fossil Group, Montblanc, and Mobvoi will launch new Wear OS devices.

For tablets, Google announced during its I/O 2022 keynote that it will update more than 20 Google apps in the coming weeks to “make the most of” the extra screen real estate. These include YouTube Music, Google Maps, and Messages, among others.

Google also said it was working with other apps, including TikTok, Zoom and Facebook, to improve their user experience on Android tablets.

tiktok app android tablet images TikTok android

TikTok is being optimized for Android tablets
Image credit: Google

Additionally, users will be able to copy URLs or images from their phones and paste them onto your tablet.

In general, on Android, Google is introducing virtual cards that work on Chrome and at the system level to help users pay easily without requiring them to manually enter card details such as CVV at checkout.

Google is also expanding Quick Pair support to more devices, making it easy for users to set up and pair their devices. Initially limited to earbuds, the expansion has recently expanded to Bluetooth headsets, Chromebooks, and smart TVs.

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The Google Wallet app on Android is also becoming a unified platform to help people access their cards, transportation and event tickets, boarding and membership cards, and IDs. It will also be able to save virtual car keys and vaccine records as well as digital driver’s licenses and official ID cards. Google is essentially making a Wallet app on Android similar to Apple’s Wallet.

However, in addition to adding new features to the Wallet app, the Android maker is also working to update its integration with other Google apps and services. For example, this will allow users to see their transit card balance in Google Maps when searching for directions after adding the card to their wallet. Users can also add fares to their transit card from Google Maps by clicking on the card information.

Google Wallet Maps Integration Image Google Maps Google Wallet

Google Maps is integrating Google Wallet, allowing you to seamlessly add fares to transit cards
Image credit: Google

Google Wallet will also appear on Wear OS, with initial support for cards.

In addition to the Wallet update, Google also announced an update to the Rich Communication Services (RCS) messaging experience by bringing encryption to group conversations. The company says it will launch in an open beta later this year.

Google also announced an of the casting feature to devices including Chromebooks and Android Auto in-car systems.



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