Google Pixel Watch 2 is getting an ingenious feature that tells time with vibrations

Google Pixel Watch 2
(Image credit: Future)

When it comes to telling the time, there are only so many ways it can be done. Which is why the standard clockface has lasted for as long as it has. But Google may be working on a new way to do it — one that would see the Pixel Watch 2 tell the time through a series of vibrations.

One Reddit user has spotted a new “Vibration watch” feature in their Pixel Watch 2’s vibration menu. The idea behind it is that users can tap the watch face with two fingers to check what time it is. A single tap will activate the hour, while a double tap will tell you the minute time.

It’s quite a clever idea, but the vibrating minute hand could get complicated rather quickly if Google isn’t careful about it. So it looks like the feature will display the time in two different ways — Digits and Terse.

Digits mode uses long vibrations to express increments of 10, while short vibrations mean one. So 32 minutes past the hour should be three long vibrations and two short ones. Terse sounds a little simpler, but rounds the time and uses vibrations for every 15-minute increment. Google is also set to offer 5 different vibration speeds for a little extra customization, ranging from Very Slow to Very Fast.

Good vibrations

Google Pixel Watch 2

(Image credit: Future)

It’s a very interesting idea to account for the fact there are times when telling the time using a smartwatch screen may not be appropriate. Those light-up screens are very noticeable in the dark, and could prove to be annoying for other people. 

It doesn’t matter if you’re in a movie theater, struggling to sleep next to your light-sleeping partner or stuck in an awkward situation where glancing at your watch will come across as rude — like your stepmom’s boring birthday party you couldn’t get out of. Vibration takes light and eyes out of the equation and means only you get subjected to what your watch is doing.

Users on Reddit note that while the feature seems to be available, it doesn’t actually work yet — which was backed up by Android Police. So if you do see this feature in your Pixel Watch 2 settings, the most you’ll be able to do is look at the menus and dream of the day your smartwatch will tell you the time with a series of elaborate buzzing.

It’s not clear when this feature will be activated, but there’s a good chance we may see it in the upcoming March 2024 Pixel Feature Drop. So expect to hear more about this in the next week or so.

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Tom Pritchard
UK Phones Editor

Tom is the Tom's Guide's UK Phones Editor, tackling the latest smartphone news and vocally expressing his opinions about upcoming features or changes. It's long way from his days as editor of Gizmodo UK, when pretty much everything was on the table. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining about how terrible his Smart TV is.