Assistant on the new Wear OS also feels smarter than before. I asked it "How far am I from my hotel?" and because Google had my reservation details from my inbox, the Assistant showed me the distance and time from my lodging that night without missing a beat. It also displayed a thumbnail of the directions from Maps. I'll admit, I was blown away by how easy this was. I was also impressed when Assistant (or Google's voice-recognition tool) correctly transcribed: "That all appeared on camera, you doofus." (Editor's note: The "doofus" in question is Chris Velazco.) That's right, it wrote "doofus" and even inserted the comma in the right place. It was nice to be able to dictate replies the way I'd actually talk to Chris (don't worry, we love each other, but only as friends).
Assistant also appears elsewhere in Wear OS, like your notifications stream. When our editor in chief, Dana Wollman, told me a picture I sent her was cute, the Assistant suggested Smart Replies like "Aww," or two heart emojis. That's better than the previous canned replies like "OK," "Yes," "No" or "Can't talk now, call you later." Occasionally, the suggested responses were repetitive -- like when it offered me the options of "OK" or "Okay." Google is aware of this bug and is working on a fix.
I could see smart replies becoming more useful once the system starts to understand how I text. I also want to see more Assistant suggestions throughout Wear OS, like on the home screen and in the Fit app, to remind me of appointments or encourage me to meet goals. Of course, this might become a tad repetitive if the watch also pushes through similar notifications from my phone. Google said we'll see more of Assistant in Wear OS in the future.
Finally, Fit for your wrist
It feels like Google's finally figured out what to do with the prime real estate to the right of the watch face. In the past, that was where you'd see your apps list or other watch faces. Now, it shows your activity progress via the redesigned Google Fit, which is smart, because most people care about their health even at the most superficial level.
The new Fit is now more than a glorified exercise tracker -- it actually motivates me to put on the smartwatch every day. With the onboard heart-rate sensor, the watch is much better at awarding me Move minutes and Heart points, and I feel more driven to meet my daily goals. It's very much like closing the circles on Apple watches.