The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4's only voice assistant at launch is Bixby, and that's a big letdown — even if it's a just temporary one.
After I set up the Galaxy Watch 4 unit Samsung loaned me to review, I realized Google Assistant was nowhere to be found within Wear OS's new app cloud. Itching to try this rumored upgrade, I checked Twitter to see if any fellow early testers noticed the assistant's absence.
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Sure enough, Samsung had confirmed to my friends over at Android Central (opens in new tab) that Google Assistant is not on the Galaxy Watch 4 series right now. Apparently the assistant will make it to the new smartwatches eventually, but no word yet on when that might be.
I really have no interest in Bixby on my wrist. As much as I'm enjoying the merged Tizen-Wear OS experience so far, there are parts from Google's side of the software I prefer. The Galaxy Watch 4 I'm testing still benefits from popular programs like Google Maps and Google Pay, but Google Assistant would've propelled the new smartwatch further out of the gate.
On-board, Google Assistant has improved several sub-par Wear OS watches. And while Samsung proved it didn't need the assistant or the rest of Google's services to make some of the best smartwatches like the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 and Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2, the addition injects plenty more possibilities than users have had in the past.
With Google's voice butler built into the Galaxy Watch 4, users would gain access to the best Google Assistant commands, including control of the best Google Home compatible devices in your smart home and all the other perks that come with knowing how to use Google Assistant.
Though I might not use voice assistants much from my smart phone, using talk to text and other spoken commands from a smartwatch comes in handy when I'm on the go. I summon Siri on my Apple Watch Series 6 to start tracking a workout or set a timer when my hands are wrapped up.
Even when I tested the Fitbit Versa 3, which gives you the option of either Alexa or Google Assistant, I found myself using my voice often to maximize productivity — not just to channel my inner Bond.
Google Assistant for Samsung Galaxy Watch 4
I hope getting Google Assistant on the Galaxy Watch 4 is a top-priority update. It's not uncommon for smartwatch makers to push exciting upgrades post-release, but with the release of Samsung's biggest smartwatch rival on the horizon, there should a sense of urgency.
Google Assistant would make Samsung's latest smartwatch a stronger Apple Watch 7 competitor. That is, of course, if Samsung gives users the option to bypass Bixby as the default voice assistant once Google's virtual butler lands on the Galaxy Watch 4.
For now, be sure to check out our Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 vs Galaxy Watch 3 face-off to see all the upgrades you will get with the new smartwatch.