Google is putting the finishing touches on a smartwatch built around its Google Now service, reports 9to5 Google. Seth Weintraub notes his source suggests “Google Now functionality would be at the center of the product,” and that it would be happening “sooner rather than later.” The idea of a watch launch by month’s end — in conjunction with the new Nexus 5 and Android 4.4 — seem plausible, but does anyone want Google Now in a smartwatch?
I do. And if Google does indeed build a smartwatch with Google Now as the core, I think many others will too.
I spelled this approach out nearly two months ago when I said that Google Now offers precisely the contextual information at a glance that could truly invigorate the smartwatch market. Most products in this space are simply a modern take on using the wrist as a second screen for smartphones. That’s not innovative; that’s more of the same on a smaller screen. Move contextual data off the phone and onto a wearable though? Now we’re talking!
My thoughts from August help illustrate the idea:
“Enter Google Now. I previously alluded to it being part of a potential Google smartwatch, but I’m starting to think it could actually be the core feature of a smartwatch unlike any other on the market today. The idea of having useful information “magically” appear at a glance is more appealing to me than email notifications, caller ID and other data already available in other places.
That may sound hypocritical because Google Now is also available on phones and tablets. And I use it on those devices. A better place for Google Now though may be on a glanceable display such as a smartwatch. Or on Google Glass, for that matter. The information in Google Now is more about the “here and now” and I can’t think of a better device for that than a watch that’s intelligent.”
This all fits in nicely with Google’s wearable push. It started with Google Glass and although Google Now is just a part of that product, it’s among the most useful. There’s no need to pull a smartphone from the pocket for a Google Now notification, which is typically a timely one. With Glass, the information just appears. But the mainstream audience may not be ready for a wearable display.
A smartwatch, however, isn’t a stretch to see as a more acceptable wearable device. And Google already has the solid makings of one in the Motorola MotoACTV from 2011.
That product proves that Motorola knows how to build a smartwatch with touchscreen, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS and more built on Android. I’m not suggesting that a new Google smartwatch would look just like the MotoACTV, but the parts are there to build the puzzle and reinvent the idea of what a smartwatch should be: Less of a second screen for apps and such, more of a contextual device that provides information important to you at a glance.