Google finally brings YouTube Music app to Wear OS
In September 2020, Google said it would phase out the Play Music app and YouTube Music would replace it. However, users of the Wear smartwatch operating system lost access to Play Music even before that. At its ongoing developer conference called Google I/O, the company announced that YouTube Music will finally be available on Wear OS. Here's everything you should know about this update.
Google Pay for Wear OS available in 26 more countries
Even before Google I/O kicked off, Google teased improvements for Wear OS in a tweet. At its conference for developers, the tech giant said that Google Pay for Wear OS will now be available in 26 countries in addition to the existing 11 where it is already available. This update will also let you pay for transit in 200 select cities.
YouTube Music app's barebones functionality finally fills Play Music's void
Arguably the biggest announcement for Wear OS is the inclusion of YouTube Music, although you'll only be able to use the watch to control what's playing on your phone. The app's "Downloads" view reportedly shows Offline Mixtape and Your Likes, just like the mobile app. However, favorites and recently played songs won't sync across your smartwatch and phone unless you get YouTube Premium.
Spotify for Wear OS will allow offline music, podcast playback
In a related announcement, streaming giant Spotify said its upcoming app for Wear OS will let you download music and podcasts for offline playback. The change comes thanks to Google's partnership with Samsung, bringing Tizen's best features to Wear OS. YouTube Music will also allow downloads for offline music playback, but it isn't clear whether Spotify or YouTube Music plan to paywall the feature.
Google Assistant, Maps also get updates; Existing users' fate unknown
Besides these updates for those who love their music on the go, Google noted that Assistant on Wear OS has been "revamped with new design principles and expanded capabilities." Additionally, Google Maps for Wear OS will let you navigate without your phone. However, existing Wear OS users will reportedly have to wait a while longer to find out if they'll get the aforementioned updates.