Google recently launched the Pixel Watch and breathed new life into Wear OS after years of neglect, but how serious is Google about its second swing at the smartwatch market, really? Getting its flagship apps up and running on the platform would be a good sign of support, and a new report from 9to5Google says some heavy hitters are on the way. The report says: “We’ve learned that Google is testing both Gmail and Calendar for Wear OS. The experience has been described as “full” to us, though we weren’t able to find out whether this involves event creation or composing new emails.”
Building any wearables apps would be a big step for the Google Workspace suite, which, for whatever reason, has been very wearable-hesitant over the last eight years. Workspace doesn’t even have apps for the Apple Watch, let alone Wear OS. Google’s biggest productivity competitor, Microsoft, has an Outlook app for both wearable platforms.
Wear OS mirrors your smartphone notifications, so for something like Gmail, you can still see and read a new Gmail message if it arrives in your notifications, and you can send a reply. You can even send a new email by voice if you know the address or have a contact, all without the app. What you can’t do are most of the normal browsing tasks, like looking through your inbox and searching your older mail. It would also be nice to have watch-centric notification options, as opposed to just mirroring the settings for your phone.
A full calendar app would be nice, too, but Wear OS already has a half-hearted calendar app called “Agenda,” which seems to only be built-in and isn’t on the Play Store. As you might expect, this is a really basic app that only shows the agenda view of a Google Calendar for the next three days.
Gmail is a strange omission since there are a ton of similar apps on Wear OS already. The Google Messages app shows a list of SMS messages in an inbox that you can tap on and read. It works great, and a Gmail app with the exact same layout would be a good start; Google just needs to build it. Google Chat also lacks a wearables app and would do fine in a similar layout.
Really, the only Google productivity app for Wear OS is Google Keep, so Google has a lot of work to do to bring its Wear OS app lineup up to a reasonable level. Also, it has been seven years and the Apple Watch doesn’t seem like it’s a passing fad or anything, so Google might want to get started on a Gmail app for that, too.