Google's new smartwatch platform is packed with features to make you more productive. Android Wear is a mobile operating system designed specifically for the small screens of wearable devices such as smartwatches. It links wirelessly to your smartphone to leverage the power of Google Now, Google's digital assistant app. That lets Android Wear deliver notifications, messaging and even Google search functionality straight to your wrist device, so you can spend less time fiddling with your smartphone and more time working. Google showed off the latest version of Google Wear at a press conference last week. Read on for 10 ways the platform can make you more productive.
Travel is an integral part of doing business, and Android Wear can ease the process. The platform delivers flight information straight to your smartwatch, letting you see information like your flight number or gate at a glance. It also lets you pull up your boarding pass for easy scanning in the security line, and can alert you if your flight is delayed. Once you arrive at your destination, Android Wear can show you your hotel information, the local bus schedule, the current time back home and more.
Storms and other weather events can really put a damper on your business by delaying travel plans or diminishing sales. Android Wear can help ensure you'll never be caught off guard, since it delivers weather alerts to your smartwatch as they arrive. It also lets you see the weather forecast at a glance so you can plan for the week ahead.
Google Wear lets you read and respond to new email messages, as well as SMS text messages, without pulling your smartphone out of your pocket. When a new message arrives, your Android Wear smartwatch will vibrate to alert you. From there, you can quickly respond by selecting a prewritten message, or use voice dictation for a more detailed reply. If you'd prefer to tap out a longer response, just pull out your smartphone and start typing. Your alerts are synced between your smartwatch and smartphone, so you can easily switch between devices.
Need a specific piece of information? Android Wear lets you find it quickly with built-in Google search. Just say, "OK Google" at any time to activate the search feature, then state your search query. The search results will be displayed right on your smartwatch display. Google Wear can even respond to questions posed in natural language. For example, ask, "How is Apple stock doing today?" for the latest stock market updates on that company.
Heavy traffic can make you late to work, so Android Wear uses real-time traffic data to guide you on your commute. The platform learns your daily habits such as when you typically leave for work in the morning, and when you leave the office in the evening. Then it delivers alerts to your smartwatch to let you know how long your commute will take, given current traffic conditions. If traffic is bad, just pull out your smartphone and use Google Maps to find an alternate route.
Social media alerts
Depending on what kind of business you do, managing your social media accounts can be an important part of your workday. Platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest can help you promote your company and spread the word about new products or deals. Android Wear can make social media easier by delivering social media alerts and notifications to your smartwatch as they arrive. You can tweak the settings for each social-networking app on your smartphone so only the most relevant alerts are sent to your wrist.
Waiting for an important package to arrive? Android Wear can ease your mind with shipping notifications delivered right to your smartwatch. The platform can provide an estimated delivery time, alert you when your package is out for delivery and send a final notification when it is actually delivered. You'll get that information without even asking for it, since Andriod Wear pulls shipping data straight from your Gmail account.
Notes, reminders and alarms
Voice commands let you perform a variety of actions on your Android Wear device. For starters, you can save a bit of information by saying, "Take a note," then stating your note; the text will be automatically synced to a notes app on your smartphone for later review. You can also create a reminder with a command, such as, "Remind me to check my email when I get home" or "Remind me to mail a package at 2 p.m. tomorrow." Finally, you can set a simple alarm with a command, such as, "Set an alarm for noon." These features let you worry less about remembering appointments and other small tasks and focus more on running your business.
Respond to calls
Android Wear lets you use your smartwatch like a miniature phone. When a phone call arrives, you'll be alerted right on your watch. From there you can answer on your smartphone or opt to use the microphone on your watch to take the call. If you do not wish to answer, you can simply swipe left to decline the call, or use a few taps to send a prewritten SMS message, such as, "I'm in a meeting."
Do not disturb
Viewing alerts on your smartwatch is convenient, but it can also be distracting. Whether you're in a business meeting or simply want time to focus on your current project, an incessantly buzzing smartwatch can quickly wear out its welcome. That's why it's easy to silence your Android Wear device. Just swipe down from the top of your smartwatch display to put the device into Do Not Disturb mode. When you want to receive alerts again, just repeat the gesture. You can also access the Android Wear settings on your smartphone to "mute" a specific application, ensuring that smartphone alerts for that app won't also appear on your watch.
Originally published on Business News Daily.