October 2, 2022
Google Assistant on the Galaxy Watch 4 is great except for one thing

When Google and Samsung announced Wear OS 3 last year, I had lots of questions about how well Google services would run on Samsung hardware. Of Google’s expansive suite of apps, I was most curious about Google Assistant. The only catch was it wasn’t available when the Galaxy Watch 4 lineup launched — and there were only vague promises as to when it would actually be available. But yesterday, Google Assistant finally arrived on the Galaxy Watch 4, and after a few hours of playing around with it, I’m cautiously optimistic.

Google Assistant was already a feature on older Wear OS 2 watches. It just wasn’t great. Because Wear OS 2 watches struggled with underpowered hardware, Google Assistant was often laggy and never fully lived up to its potential. Asking for more than the most basic queries was a crapshoot. Meanwhile, Samsung’s Tizen watches had snappy performance but only offered up Bixby. And Bixby… is Bixby. Despite Samsung’s efforts, it’s just not as useful as other digital assistants. All this to say: once the Google Assistant was available for the Galaxy Watch 4, I installed it as fast as humanly possible.

Setting up Google Assistant on the Galaxy Watch 4 isn’t hard. The only thing you have to do is make sure your phone and watch are running the latest software. Once that’s done, launch the Google Play Store app on your wrist. You can then either search for “Google Assistant” or scroll down to My Apps. Either way, you should see a button that reads “Assistant Update.” After that, follow the prompts to activate Google Assistant on your phone.

It’s at this point that you can either opt in or out of Voice Match, which allows Assistant to create a personalized voice model on your device. You’ll also see a message alerting you that if you elect to have the watch listen for the “Hey Google” wake phrase, it’ll impact battery life. (More on this in a bit.)

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