Google’s not being very subtle with its wearables push

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After a massive Pixel Watch leak this past weekend, you’d think that maybe Google would relax on the wearables front. Nope. With Google I/O just weeks away, a video teasing Google Assistant on the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 has popped up on YouTube, and Google-owned Fitbit has officially started rolling out passive atrial fibrillation alerts on its suite of devices.

We’ve known that Google Assistant was coming to the Galaxy Watch 4 (and therefore Wear OS 3) for months. The only thing we haven’t really known is when, but it seems like the wait is coming to an end. There was a false alarm last week when Verizon jumped the gun with an update log that suggested Google Assistant support had been included in the latest round of Galaxy Watch 4 updates. Google later told The Verge that it wasn’t rolling out Assistant to Galaxy Watch 4 yet and that it had no update on timing.

But now, Samsung has uploaded a teaser video showing Google Assistant on the Watch 4 in a YouTube video (via Android Police.) In it, a man says “Hey Google” to pull up the YouTube Music app. It’s a brief part of an already-short 15-second ad, but it’s clearly front and center. The last time Samsung offered any updates on timing was back in February, when it said the feature would arrive ‘In the coming months.” While that was vague, this certainly fits within that timeline.

Given that Google’s the one in control of when Assistant arrives on Wear OS 3, in addition to Verizon’s faux pas last week, Samsung’s new tease suggests that the long-awaited update could be announced at I/O. That’s also when Google is expected to officially announce the Pixel Watch, which would be only the second smartwatch to run Wear OS 3.

Meanwhile, 9to5Google reports that Fitbit has begun rolling out passive Irregular Heart Rhythm notifications on nine of its fitness trackers and smartwatches. These include the Fitbit Sense, Versa 3, Versa 2, Versa Lite Edition, Charge 5, Luxe, Charge 4, Charge 3, and the Inspire 2.

Google, which owns Fitbit, announced it was seeking FDA clearance for passive atrial fibrillation monitoring in late March. The feature then gained clearance earlier this month. The feature was a major step forward for Fitbit, which previously only had FDA clearance for its EKG app. That app allowed Fitbit Sense and Fitbit Charge 5 owners to spot check their heart rhythms. This passive feature runs in the background and can now be used on the wider variety of Fitbit products listed above — many of which are several years old.

The Fitbit Sense was the first of the company’s trackers to introduce EKG-powered atrial fibrillation spot checks.
Photo by Brent Rose / The Verge

These are both smaller updates in the grand scheme of Wear OS 3, which is expected to arrive on non-Samsung watches in the second half of this year. But combined with the increasing number of Pixel Watch leaks and the fact that Google I/O is on the horizon? This is simply further proof that 2022 is when Google actualizes years of laying the groundwork for a major wearables push. All we have to do now is wait and see what comes next.

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