Google's smartwatches let you order a pizza from your wrist by simply pressing a couple of keys.
Google has started selling two smartwatches from its online store. These are the first products available within the company's strategy of making its Android software the basis for a new generation of portable devices.
The G Watch from LG and the Gear Live from Samsung have touch pads and connect with a smartphone. They use the Android mobile operating system by Google called Wear Android, and their functionality greatly depends on the company's services, as well as on the voice-recognition software.
"We are only at the beginning of a new stage in the miniaturization of the technology", commented the head of engineering of Google's Android division, David Singleton, who participated in the company's I/O event in San Francisco on Wednesday, June 25. "It is finally possible to make a small computer that can be worn comfortably all day".
Singleton presented several smartwatches on the stage and a variety of situations where the Google Now service, now available in Android smartwatches, could be used. Google Now automatically displays "cards" with information that it thinks could be useful for the user at a given moment, such as messages indicating flight delays or sports results.
Singleton assured that Google Now would help to reduce the individual attention load of a smartphone. According to Google research, people who use Android smartphones check them an average of 125 times a day.
In other demonstrations, smartwatches with Google software displayed a boarding card and counted the steps a person took per day. These devices can show incoming calls and the user can ignore the call by pressing the screen a couple of times or reply with a short "I'm busy" message.
Google's software will be constantly listening for "Ok, Google" indicating the beginning of a voice command. Other examples include "Remind me to check the mailbox when I get home" and "Play some music".
The smartwatches for sale this week can display smartphone application messages on a person's wrist. But this function will increase when application developers begin designing specific software for these devices, stated Singleton.
Some companies have already started experimenting. For example, the smartphone application Pinterest can send push messages to an Android watch when the user approaches a place marked by a contact. On the other hand, the Eat24 food delivery app suggests ordering at certain times of the day or week at places the user has made orders previously. In one of the demonstrations, Singleton ordered a pizza from his wrist with only a couple of presses on keys.
Google's software is also designed to support devices with circular screens. The first round watch is the Motorola 360, presented in San Francisco, but which will not be sold until the end of the year. "These are only the first three watches", said Singleton. "Many more are on the way".