Google is about to make your Android Wear watches a lot more useful with interactive watch faces and Google Translate integration.
Watch faces will now be able to access more information or change settings right from your time display without needing to open up a separate app.
It showed off a few third party examples that have already implemented the new functionality. One watch face called Bits allows you to choose from a variety of at a glance information, allowing you to add weather, mail or calendar complications.
An Under Armour watch face will let you see info like your step count, calories burned and distance traveled.
Perhaps the most interesting example was the ‘Together’ watch face. This one lets you pair your watch with a partner’s, allowing you to keep track of what they’re up to throughout the day. You can send things like images and emojis, as well as update them on things like whether you’re working out or stuck in traffic.
The functionality should help make Google-powered wearables stronger competitors to the Apple Watch. It means developers can now add a myriad of new complications and features right onto the watch face without cluttering the UI.
That could have the benefit of making Wear simpler to use too – you could in theory get all the information you need without ever leaving your watch face, since it’s all accessible with just a tap on the home screen. Watch faces can now provide the functionality of some full-fledged apps.
Google is also now integrating its translation engine into all Wear devices, regardless of whether you have the Translate app installed on your phone (or if your phone’s even nearby).
To use it, just speak into the watch and your conversation will be translated into any of 44 languages. It automatically recognizes what language you’re speaking, so you don’t have to fiddle with choosing the right one.
You can then flip your wrist to show the translation to someone else, and when that person responds you can flip back to see what they’ve said in your own language.
Google says the updates are rolling out to all Android Wear watches “in the coming weeks.”