Having a Googley gadget on your wrist can be a great way to stay on top of stuff — but with Google’s Pixel Watch in particular, the best productivity-boosting possibilities are the ones you can’t see.
A smartwatch, after all, is a tiny screen. And that means it isn’t especially optimal for intricate, extended interactions revolving around touch (unless you’re a Tinkerbell-sized creature with teensy fingies, in which case the Pixel Watch is probably bigger than your entire being — so, yeah, good luck with that).
It seems like the understatement of the century, I realize. And yet, device-maker after device-maker continues to emphasize those very sorts of painfully awkward touch-based interactions and app-centric experiences with the smartwatch form.
The real value of the Pixel Watch is two-fold — first, with the easily glanceable bits of info it can keep in front of your peepers (especially with an exceptional Pixel Watch face like the one we went over earlier this week), and second, with the invisible series of simple voice commands it empowers you to deliver quickly and effortlessly on your arm.
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It isn’t at all obvious, but the Pixel Watch supports some impressively useful advanced voice commands via its ever-helpful Google Assistant. Below are some of the most useful Pixel Watch possibilities worth keeping in mind and ready for on-demand deployment as you roam around the world.
Note: You can summon Google Assistant by pressing and holding the second button on the side of the Pixel Watch — the small key directly above the main crown. Assistant is also available on certain other recent Wear OS devices, and most of these same commands should work on those devices as well.
Pixel Watch superpower No. 1: On-the-go reminders
You probably know about this one from your Android phone (right?!), but it’s even more useful on your favorite outward-facing appendage: Anytime you think of something you need to remember during the day, simply summon Assistant on your Pixel Watch and say Remind me followed by (a) whatever it is you need to remember and (b) when you want Assistant to bring it back to your attention.
So, for instance, you could say Remind me to eat falafel at 5 p.m., Remind me to buy more falafel tomorrow morning, or Remind me to say the word falafel as much as possible every Monday at noon.
Whatever you say, your handy Pixel Watch Assistant will listen — and it’ll then deliver the info right back to you, right on your watch, at the exact day and time you request.
Pixel Watch superpower No. 2: An on-demand memory jog
Speaking of reminders, what if you set a reminder on your Pixel Watch for some future time or date but then realize you need to revisit that info sooner?
Not to fear, for the miniscule genie inside your device is ready to come to your rescue.
Lift your wrist, ring your Pixel Watch Assistant’s doorbell, and say Show my reminders. You’ll get a quick ‘n’ simple list of your most recent spoken reminders. Doesn’t get much easier than that.
(Google’s getting ready to move those Assistant-given reminders into Google Tasks “in the coming months,” by the way, so it’s possible the mechanics around this may change a little as part of that shift.)
Pixel Watch superpower No. 3: Your personal Post-It pad
I don’t know about you, but I have all sorts of strange thoughts floating through my man-brain at all hours. (They may or may not mostly involve falafels.)
Well, your Pixel Watch has a perfect way to get such on-the-fly inspiration out of your head and into a place where you’ll be able to find it again later. Just say Note to self followed by whatever it is you want to remember.
That purty Pixely gadget on your person-branch will tuck the info away into a new note within your Google Keep collection (or potentially a different Android note-taking app, if you’ve switched away from Keep to another available option within the main Assistant settings). And you can then find it anytime simply by opening up Keep on Android or on the web.
Pixel Watch superpower No. 4: Easy note access
Provided you’ve got the Keep app installed on your Pixel Watch, you can always pull up your latest saved notes right on your wrist for quick reference.
(And if you aren’t sure if Keep is there yet, press the watch’s main crown button, then scroll down and see if “Keep Notes” appears in the list of available apps. If it doesn’t, select “Play Store” from that same list and then find and install the app there.)
It’s a helpful way to find important info on the go or look through a list you’ve made, even, all without having to dig into your dungarees (and/or satchel) and futz around with your phone.
Show me my notes is the spoken command to remember.
Pixel Watch superpower No. 5: Scheduling support
When you’ve got an important meeting and/or falafel feasting soiree to schedule, skip the phone fuss and instead tell your Pixel Watch to make the appointment for you.
All you’ve gotta do is politely call up Assistant on your wrist and say Make an appointment to get started — or, if you’d rather save some steps, combine all the info into a single streamlined command:
Make an appointment for falafel contemplation tomorrow at 10 a.m.
Pixel Watch superpower No. 6: Calendar check-ins
In addition to making appointments, your silky-voiced virtual wrist helper can make it incredibly easy to check in on your calendar without so much as batting an eye.
Press that Assistant-summoning button on the side of your Pixel Watch and try some of these convenient calendar command formats:
- When’s my next appointment?
- When’s my meeting with Elmer?
- What’s on my agenda for Friday?
- When’s my next event about falafel?
Pixel Watch superpower No. 7: Fast fact storage
An alternate type of reminder worth remembering is Google Assistant’s ability to store specific types of info and then pull ’em up when you ask for ’em. It’s a brilliant bit of added intelligence to help your eternally foggy brain, and it works swimmingly well with your smartwatch.
It can work with practically anything, too. For instance:
- Remember that the office Wi-Fi password is falafel77
- Remember that my rental car license plate is C843944EE
- Remember that Beverly’s cat is named Petunia
- Remember that I parked on the fifth level
Whatever you say with that sort of sentence structure, your Pixel Watch-dwelling sidekick will happily tuck away for future reference. And speaking of which…
Pixel Watch superpower No. 8: Fast fact retrieval
Once you’ve told your Pixel Watch Assistant to remember something using the setup we just went over, you can then ask it to retrieve that same info simply by asking What did I tell you about… followed by the specific sort of info you said:
- What did I tell you about the office Wi-Fi password?
- What did I tell you about my rental car license plate?
- What did I tell you about Beverly’s cat?
Sometimes, you can make your question even shorter:
In each instance, your friendly neighborhood Pixel Watch will spout out the info you need — and with the case of parking, it’ll also show you a visual map of where you were when you issued the initial command.
Not bad, right?!
Pixel Watch superpower No. 9: An emailing secret
You might’ve noticed that the standard Android Gmail app isn’t available on Wear OS — which means you can’t open your inbox on your Pixel Watch.
That being said, you can still interact with emails via incoming notifications — and in an oft-overlooked twist, you can also send quick emails from your watch whenever the need arises. You just have to realize it’s possible and then remember the command.
Luckily, that’s easy as can be to do: Just say email followed by the name of the person you want to contact. So long as the person is in your Google Contacts list, your Pixel Watch Assistant will confirm it has the right address and then ask what you want to say.
If you want to save yourself a step, you can also say email followed by the contact name and then your actual message, all within a single breath.
I wouldn’t recommend using this for anything but the shortest and simplest emails, but it’s a handy option to keep in mind when the right sort of situation comes up.
Pixel Watch superpower No. 10: Meet-up magic
The next time you’re trying to meet a client, colleague, or fellow falafel-appreciating companion out in the real world and you’re struggling to get them to the right place, skip the complicated direction dictation and instead say Share my location to your Pixel Watch Assistant.
Your watch will ask with whom you wish to share your whereabouts and then confirm that it’s got your location right. After that, it’ll send a short description of where you are along with a link to an interactive Google Maps navigation via the Google Messages Android app (or whatever default texting service you use on your phone).
You can save a step with this one, too, by saying Share my location with followed by the name of the person in a single command, if you’d like.
Pixel Watch superpower No. 11: Instant finding
Last but not least in our list is one more location-related Pixel Watch superpower to tuck away into your basal ganglia.
So here it is: If you ever find yourself in an unfamiliar locale, that Googley goblin on your wrist’s got you covered.
Just press and hold that Pixel Watch side button and say Where am I? You’ll get a spoken description of your current location along with a handy map.
Sometimes, it’s the simplest stuff that matters the most.
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