Wear OS smartwatch feature has been broken for month — Google promises fix

Wear OS smartwatch feature has been broken for month — Google promises fix
(Image credit: Future)

Google's Wear OS smartwatch platform has reportedly suffered a serious problem for months, but apparently not many people noticed. "Hey Google," voice commands haven't work for some users since November.

Notably a buggy platform, we're not surprised to hear about these Wear OS woes, which DroidLife first reported. The site discovered a Reddit thread that heated up this week as users complained about Google's customer support. 

According to the original support claim, submitted November 9, 2020, "Hey Google" voice detection didn't work with a Wear OS update. In order to use the best Google Assistant commands, the user had to activate the AI butler manually. 

"Wear OS voice detection of command word 'ok google' does not work in the current version of Wear OS. Users must instead activate Google Assistant manually which significantly removes utility from the watch while lacking an essential and advertised feature," the griping user wrote.

Although they don't specify which Wear OS smartwatch model they own, we can assume the issue impacted all devices running the wearable platform. DroidLife reports the TicWatch Pro 3's "Hey Google" voice detection failed, pointing out that this smartwatch is one of the newest powered by Google's software.

When The Verge  reached out to Google for comment, it said a fix is now being worked on. Of course, that doesn't explain why or how the problem wasn't explored following the original complaint.

Earlier this week I wrote a story in defense of Wear OS. Well, sort of. I explained how Samsung stepping in to save Wear OS would be a smart move. If anything, this new evidence of neglect proves why Google might want to partner with the Galaxy Watch maker. Of course, I simultaneously argue that Samsung ditching Tizen for Wear OS would be a disaster.

Google doesn't push Wear OS updates as often as, say, Apple does for its watchOS platform. A new version should come in 2021, though, perhaps with the long-rumored Pixel Watch. The company didn't provide a timeline for the "Hey Google" voice detection fix, but if your Wear OS smartwatch or app offers an update you should run it promptly. Hopefully it will bring the feature back online.

Kate Kozuch

Kate Kozuch is the managing editor of social and video at Tom’s Guide. She covers smartwatches, TVs and audio devices, too. Kate appears on Fox News to talk tech trends and runs the Tom's Guide TikTok account, which you should be following. When she’s not filming tech videos, you can find her taking up a new sport, mastering the NYT Crossword or channeling her inner celebrity chef.