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Android Wear Gets Now Card With 5.6 Beta Of The Google App

November 12, 2015 - Written By Justin Diaz

Google looks to be pushing out an update to the beta version of the Google app, bringing in some changes to the Android Wear software as well as some adjustments to the Google Now Launcher. While the update should be available to anyone using the beta version of the app, if it is not and you want it installed you can grab the apk from here. As far as what’s new, those who use Android Wear and Google Now will be happy to see that Google has added in a new Google Now card to the stream on Android Wear. With this card users will see things like package tracking information for shipped items, upcoming birthdays, and other important information that the card seems to prioritize before showing it to users on the watch card.

In addition to the new Google Now card, Google appears to be setting up a couple of new functions for Android Wear down the line, and while not quite available, when they do show up they should be a nice add for users. The first of these looks to be a capability to initiate commands with the OK Google hotword and ask wear to complete continuous searches, which Google has internally referred to as “magic mic” in the code strings. To be clear, you can already use the hotword to ask Wear to search for something, but it looks like users will soon have the option to speak the command a single time and continually ask Wear follow-up questions in succession to the first.

The other new feature that appears to be on the way is a text to speech option, which has the ability to respond to the user audibly when it’s appropriate. With speaker enabled Android Wear devices this should be a nice functionality to have at certain times. Lastly, with this update to the beta Google App we mentioned some tweaks to the Google Now Launcher. These are fairly minor visual touches but they certainly make for an overall better looking experience. After installing version 5.6 of the beta Google App users may notice that when folders are open on the homescreen, the folder width now matches up with the length of the search bar widget that sits up at the top of the screen. Again, this is fairly minor, but overall it looks cleaner which is likely the reason for the change, as it keeps widgets that may be on the homescreen from peeking out of the sides of the expanded folder in previous versions of the app.