Notifications will be a big part of Google’s Android Wear smartwatches as important glanceable information moves from the screen of a phone to the screen on the wrist. Some of the first of those notifications are on display, thanks to the Android Developers Google+ account, and while most look useful, one indicates that users will have to carefully manage which apps can and can’t surface information on their Google-powered watches.
Take this notification from Nest, for example. If my smoke alarm sensed a fire, I’d surely want to know about it. The same goes for a a meeting that starts in a few minutes; I’d definitely appreciate the reminder.
Then we have a “Clash of Clans” update. I don’t play that particular game but I do play others on my phones and tablets. One, “Real Racing 3,” notifies me when my cars are repaired, for example, because it can take several real-time hours for my in-game mechanic to fix up my dents and scratches. I probably need to improve my driving or hire a better mechanic, but that’s not the point: Do I want those notifications on my wrist?
I have no doubt that consumers will be able to manage the notification types that Android Wear watches can receive. That functionality is present in our phones and tablets today across all of the mobile software platforms. But when it comes to something as personal as a watch and something that has such a small screen to begin with, my hope is that the notification management system doesn’t overwhelm.
Otherwise, the watch becomes just another display to get annoyed at when a less significant bit of information pops up, which doesn’t help separate the noise from actual useful data. That would defeat the entire purpose of the product.