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'OK, Google' is broken for some Wear OS smartwatches (Update: Apparently fixed)

Update: It looks like an update is rolling out now that fixes this problem.

Published onMarch 11, 2021

fossil gen 5 smartwatch garrett 4
  • ‘OK Google’ detection has been broken for at least some Wear OS smartwatch owners.
  • Users have occasionally reported problems in recent months, too.
  • Google is aware of the issue and a fix is apparently rolling out now.

Update: March 11, 2021 (05:11 PM ET): After word started to spread that “OK Google” detection had broken on some Wear OS watches, Google issued a statement acknowledging the problem. Now, it appears a fix is live.

Users on Reddit are reporting that hotword detection is back on their watches. It’s not totally clear which update brings the fix, but it’s likely to do with the watch versions of the Google or Play Store apps.

Either way, the best way to get the fix would be to run any available updates on your Wear OS watch. Just head to the Play Store on your watch and tap the My Apps button. Run any updates in there and then try to start a Google Assistant command with “OK Google.” Of course, you’ll need this feature to be turned on first, but if you’re one of the people who have had this not working, you likely already have it toggled.

Original article: February 24, 2021 at 5:02 p.m. ET: If you ask your Google-powered smartwatch for help and don’t get an answer, you’re not alone. Numerous users on Issue Tracker, Reddit, and elsewhere are reporting that “OK Google” hotword detection is broken for at least some Wear OS watch owners.

The full extent of the issue isn’t clear as of this writing, but users report “OK Google” problems across a range of watch models. Android Authority couldn’t get the voice assistant to recognize the phrase on a Fossil Gen 5 or the OPPO Watch, while others report broken functionality on wristwear like the TicWatch Pro 3.

See also: The best smartwatches you can buy

This appears to be a recurring issue, too. Reports of “OK Google” problems have been surfacing for months — it’s just a particularly acute glitch for watch owners at the moment.

We’ve asked Google for comment.

It’s safe to say affected users aren’t happy. “OK Google” is a key feature for many watch owners — it’s the key to checking the weather or sending a text when your hands are occupied. It also reinforces concerns that Google is letting Wear OS languish while Apple, Samsung and others pull ahead.

There is hope Google will pay more attention to its wearable software now that it owns Fitbit. At the moment, though, the hotword failures aren’t exactly mending Google’s reputation for neglecting Android on watches and other devices beyond phones.

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