Samsung Galaxy Watches will soon receive an upgrade to Google Maps that makes obtaining directions easier while driving, walking, or cycling. The app will now automatically launch directions without tapping its menu button and selecting modes; furthermore it allows you to set specific times when this feature turns on and off. This new functionality is coming both to Bluetooth-enabled models of Watch 4 Series watches as well as LTE variants of Watch 5.
Google Maps for Wear OS was already enhanced earlier this year to function without needing a smartphone connection, providing better battery life and navigation options. Now, as Samsung prepares to launch their Galaxy Watch 6 Series soon, these updates should help ensure its survival in a highly-competitive smartwatch market.
One of the main drawbacks to Wear OS is its slow updating cycle for some apps and features, meaning some may be denied access to particular functions or full versions of apps they depend on. Google is working towards rectifying this by including offline maps for Google Maps into Wear OS version 3.5 release – meaning users will be able to download local map data when not connected to their phone, giving them greater freedom and flexibility when exploring locations without being tied down by phone signals.
Samsung introduced this and several other new Galaxy Watch features during its virtual Unpacked event last month, such as streaming Spotify music to it via Bluetooth headphones or earbuds, multi-user ECG sensor support and adding a QWERTY keyboard and improving audio capabilities.
These new features are part of Samsung’s One UI experience, which is based on Wear OS version 3.5. While many features may overlap between Wear OS and One UI experiences, Samsung’s customizations set their watches apart from others devices; some examples include Samsung Pay and Health, as well as those exclusive to Galaxy Watch family watches.
Samsung has designed its Galaxy Watch 4 and 5 watches to take full advantage of Google Maps’ circular screens, featuring Always On Display (AOD) so they stay active even when your wrist is off displaying information such as time or battery percentage.
To add Google Maps tile to the Galaxy Watch’s Quick Access menu, swipe left on its home screen and then select Add tiles. Simply scroll through until you find Google Maps and tap to add it. For greater control and flexibility in customizing layout and position of tiles you have added, long press on its home screen as you add or modify existing tiles in Quick Access menu.