by: Nick Gambino

SmartWatchFor those of you who actively use Android Wear watches (all 5 of you) you’ll be happy to hear that you can now use Google Maps. This is just in time as Android Wear devices are now competing with the far superior Apple Watch with integrated Apple Maps.

Google Maps on Android Wear watches works very similar to the Apple Maps app on the Apple Watch. Directions will be displayed on the watch face with vibrations indicating when you need to make your next move. It can be synced with your smartphone so that you can enter a destination on your phone and the directions will pop up on your watch.

The problem is, it may be too little too late. Android Wear was released in March 2014 as an operating system with several partners releasing watches with this OS. Watches like the Moto 360 and the LG G Watch. But it’s taken them over a year to release a Google Maps app. Which, by the way, is a more popular maps app than Apple Maps which has had its share of problems. You know, the kind of problems where you map yourself to grandma’s house and end up on the bottom of the Hudson River with the ever-irritating sound of Siri’s voice chiming, “You have reached your destination.”

Though to be fair, Apple Maps has cleaned up a lot of their bugs and no major issues have been reported by Apple Watch users.

Apple Watches
Apple Watches on Display

Android Wear has struggled to gain a footing in the wearable tech world. In 2014 they sold an estimated 720,000 units. To give you a comparison, Apple sold about 957,000 Apple Watches in the very first day of preorders. It’s estimated that they could sell 36 million in the first year. Whew, boy. This is one time the tortoise will not be beating the hare. Slow and steady just won’t win the race in the world of tech sales.

Meanwhile Google has not yet released a maps app for the Apple Watch. In fact they only just released their first Apple Watch app, Google News and Weather. This doesn’t seem connected to any sort of competitive watch issue as Google has always crossed platforms when it comes down to their apps and software. Hardware sales has just never been Google’s main source of revenue so to alienate other tech products not produced by them would be economical suicide. Google Maps arrival to the Apple Watch is just a matter of time.

lg watchAnyways, if you are excited about Google Maps on your Android Wear device you may want to brace yourself for the downside of this “exciting” news. It’s only currently available for the LG Watch Urbane and is apparently very buggy with crash issues and general unresponsiveness being reported by users. Definitely not a good thing if you’re using it to get somewhere rapidly.

So to summarize: Android Wear has kind of released Google Maps into its watches (one watch to be specific) but it’s glitchy as hell and Apple Watch is cleaning up with surprisingly no big bugs reported on their Apple Maps app.

If you own an Android Wear watch you may have to wait a while until you have a bug-free maps experience or you can just give in and buy the Apple Watch which I’m sure will have Google Maps very soon. Come on, you know you want to. Just do it. All the cool kids have them.


Nick Gambino is a regular script writer and tech beat reporter for NewsWatch.  He lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and daughter.


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