Google Unveils 'Android Wear,' An Operating System For Smartwatches, And The Ad Has Us Convinced It's A Good Idea

We've never been particularly convinced by the idea of smartwatches, but Google's latest announcement might just change our mind: On Tuesday, the giant corporation unveiled Android Wear, a version of its Android operating system designed to work with wearable devices like smartwatches. And the corporate giant has already teamed up with a bunch of tech companies — Motorola, HTC, Samsung — to put Android around your wrist.

Android Wear will deliver real-time notifications from social media to your wrist; provide information such as sports scores, weather and directions; and even help you monitor your fitness (think Fitbit.) It could also help you order a taxi and check in for your flight. The wearable devices "understand the context of the world around you, and you can interact with them simply and efficiently, with just a glance or a spoken word," Google says on its blog.

So far, so sci-fi.

Apparently all you need to do to get your watch to listen up is say "OK, Google." Then you can issue all sorts of commands.

This is where we suspect people might begin to run into some difficulties. Voice-recognition software often seems to cause more problems than it solves (when was the last time Siri heard you right on your first try?) We can just imagine the grocery store filled with people yelling in frustration at their wrists as they try to simultaneously check the basketball score and find out the calorie content of a grapefruit.

Motorola has already announced its Android Wear smart watch, the Moto 360, due to launch this summer. Google is currently working with a host of other companies, including LG, Asus, HTC, Fossil and Samsung.

If the promotional video is anything to go by, this "wearable" computing device seems much more practical (and less pretentious) than Google Glass, the company's eye-wear that delivers information in your peripheral vision.

It's not entirely clear whether you'll need to have your Android Wear smartwatch connected to a cell phone, or whether you'll be able to use the watch to make calls. There's also no news yet on price, though with several developers getting in on the action, there should be some healthy competition.

Image: @verge/Twitter