Google has today announced improvements to the Google Play Music experience accessed through Wear OS. Specifically, the announcement - which came by way of the Wear OS help forum - states that Google Play Music users will now have much greater on-screen control of the music streaming service when using a smartwatch.
Previously, controlling Google Play Music via a Wear OS watch largely only allowed users to play and pause music, or the option to skip forward or back through tracks (as shown above). However, Google states users will now be able to select the ‘shuffle’ option from their smartwatch, as well as the ability to see a preview of the song scheduled to play next. In addition, Google explains a “new download indicator” will also now be visible highlighting what songs can be downloaded to the watch directly - providing this feature is supported by the watch to begin with. As of today, the Google Play Store listing for the Wear OS Android app is already detailing the new features with an update that has seemingly already rolled out. So Wear OS smartwatch owners should be able to make use of the new features now. Those who are not seeing the features just yet may have to wait until an update for the Wear OS app has rolled out to their devices. The same changelog also notes the visibility of the display on smartwatches has now been improved, as has notifications related to in-store payments, as well as a new ability to pin Google Keep notes from the watch.
Speaking of these latest Play Music features, these are the first new features to be announced since Wear OS officially became Wear OS. As up until last week Wear OS was more commonly known as Android Wear, Google’s Android-powered smartwatch platform. As part of the rebrand Google confirmed it was looking to somewhat distance the branding of the platform from Android due to the number of iPhone users who also now use a smartphone powered by the platform. Officially speaking, the platform is now called Wear OS by Google, which ties in with the more general Made by Google branding.