Update 1 (03/11/2021 @ 05:14 PM ET): A fix for the broken “OK Google” hotword is finally rolling out for Wear OS smartwatches. Click here for more information. The article, as published on February 25, 2021, is preserved below.
If your Wear OS smartwatch has suddenly stopped responding to the “OK Google” command, you’re not alone. It appears that the Google Assistant voice commands have been broken for the last few months. Reddit threads and Google Issue Tracker pages are filled with Wear OS users complaining about not being able to use the OK Google hot word to trigger the Assistant.
Although users can still trigger the Assistant manually from their watch, having to navigate to the Assistant app on a tiny screen of a smartwatch or long-pressing the crown is understandably far less convenient than simply saying OK Google or Hey Google. Some users were able to have the functionality restored by downgrading the Google app on their Watch OS to an older version. Some users also report that they’re unable to use the Continued Conversation feature in the manual mode.
Google has at least acknowledged the issue in a statement to The Verge, saying the company is “aware of the issues some users have been encountering” and will help its partners “address these and improve the overall experience.” However, it remains unclear when it will be rolled out.
Still, it’s disappointing that the Wear OS ecosystem’s fundamental functionality has been broken for this long, and Google has yet to fix it. It also shows the overall hopeless state of Wear OS and Google’s unheeding attitude towards it. Here’s hoping the situation will change for good after Google’s acquisition of Fitbit.
In the meantime, if you own a Wear OS smartwatch and are affected by the issue, consider visiting this Google Issue Tracker page and star the issue.
Update 1: “OK Google” detection fixed on Wear OS
After being broken for months, Google is finally rolling out an update to the Google app for Wear OS that re-enable “OK Google” hotword detection. The fix was first spotted by Reddit user game1385, who shared a video of the hotword being detected on their OPPO Watch.
I checked my own Wear OS smartwatch, the TicWatch Pro 3, and can confirm that “OK Google” detection now works after updating to the latest version of the Google App, version 188.8.131.52.
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