Samsung Galaxy watches are, arguably, the best smartwatches for Android phones. However, they lack one major thing that people who use Android love: Google. There are a few ways you can make your Samsung watch a bit more Google-y.
There are no official Google apps for Samsung smartwatches, but that shouldn’t deter you from getting one. Many of Samsung’s watch apps are just as good, if not better, than Google’s. We’ve got six tips to help you get the best of both worlds.
Ditch Bixby for Google Assistant
Samsung Galaxy smartwatches come with the company’s voice assistant, Bixby. This is one of the major pain points for Google fans. Bixby can do a lot of the same things the Google Assistant can, but that doesn’t matter if you’re already invested in Google’s version.
Thankfully, there are a few ways you can get Google Assistant up and running on a Samsung Galaxy smartwatch. The first method is via an app called GAssist. It’s compatible with Samsung Galaxy watches running Tizen 4.0+. The setup process is pretty lengthy, but the end result is worth it.
The second method is an app called G-Voice Assistant, and it doesn’t require as much setup. The end result isn’t quite as good, but it’s certainly a nice option if you find the GAssist setup process daunting.
To get started, install the G-Voice Assistant app from the Galaxy Store (start with the free version).
Once it’s installed, open the app on your watch.
You’ll be asked to log in to your Google account. You have to do this to access all of your Google Assistant settings, apps, services, routines, and so on. You can also tap “Later” to use Google Assistant without any personalization.
If you’re logging in, the app will tell you to use the account associated with the Google Assistant on your phone or tablet; tap “OK.”
Next, type your Google email address in the tiny browser, and then tap “Next.”
Type your password, and then tap “Next.” If you have two-factor authentication enabled, you’ll be asked to confirm your login.
Next, tap “Allow” to give the app permission to use Google Assistant with your account.
Scroll down and tap “Allow” once more to trust the G-Voice Assistant app.
That’s it! Tap the Microphone icon to speak to Google Assistant, or the Menu icon to tweak the app’s settings.
To use Google Assistant from your watch, you have to have one of the apps mentioned above. However, you don’t need any additional apps to get Google Assistant notifications on your watch.
You’ll still be able to get reminders, weather alerts, and any other Assistant notifications that appear on your phone.
Sync Samsung Health Data with Google Fit
One of the best features of a Samsung smartwatch is its fitness tracking. It can track typical activities, but also has automatic workout detection, heart rate monitoring, and sleep tracking. Some models can even do blood oxygen monitoring and VO2 Max reporting.
Beyond the hardware capabilities, Samsung Health is just a nice fitness app. However, if you’re coming from a Wear OS smartwatch, or you’ve been using Google Fit, you might prefer to keep your fitness data there. With an app called Health Sync, you can sync all your fitness data from Samsung Health to Google Fit.
Setting up Health Sync is a straightforward process, and it will allow you to continue tracking your health and fitness data in Google’s ecosystem.
Navigate From Your Wrist with Google Maps
One of Google’s most popular apps is Maps, and it’s not officially available for Samsung Galaxy smartwatches. You probably wouldn’t want to view a map on a tiny watch screen, but the turn-by-turn navigation instructions are handy.
There are a few third-party options for Google Maps that typically focus on turn-by-turn navigation. The best of these aren’t free, though. Our top picks are Navigator Pro ($2.99) and Awesome Navigator ($1.99). The watch apps are free, so you only have to pay through the Google Play Store (which is much easier).
The nice thing about both of these apps is they don’t require any input on the watch. You simply start navigating somewhere in Google Maps on your phone, and the directions will also appear on your watch.
Check Your Google Calendar
Thankfully, Google Calendar is one of the easiest Google services to use on a Samsung Galaxy smartwatch. If you already use Google Calendar on your Android phone, it will automatically sync with the calendar app on your watch—no setup required!
There are limitations, though. If your watch is paired to a non-Samsung phone, you can only view events. You’ll be able to see them from all your calendars with color-coded labels, but that’s it. For most people, that’s useful enough for a small display. If you’re using a Samsung phone, though, you also have the ability to add and delete events.
The good news is notifications from the Google Calendar app on your phone will also appear on your Samsung watch. You’ll never miss an important event reminder, regardless of whether you have a Samsung phone.
Samsung Pay Is Just as Good as Google Pay
In some cases, there’s not much reason to use a work-around for a Google app, and one of these is Google Pay. Samsung Galaxy smartwatches include Samsung Pay, the company’s mobile payment platform, which is very similar to Google Pay.
Both Samsung Pay and Google Pay are mobile payment platforms. You add a credit or debit card, and then use your phone or smartwatch to pay for things. Near-field communication (NFC) allows this to work, and it’s present on nearly all Samsung watches. You also don’t need a Samsung phone to use it.
Unlike other Google services, there’s no real reason to keep your data in Google Pay. You won’t lose anything by switching to Samsung Pay—it’s no different than moving your physical credit card to a different wallet. You can even still use Google Pay on your phone, if you prefer.
Give It That Google Look
Finally, you can even make your Samsung Galaxy smartwatch look a little more Google-y. The easiest way to find Google-themed watch faces is via an app called Facer. This watch-face repository is available for Google’s Wear OS smartwatches, as well, so there are plenty of options.
After you install the app, long press the watch face, and then scroll through and select “Facer.” Select it.
Then, open the Facer app on your phone and select your watch from the list.
Choose three watch faces to determine your personalized recommendations.
After you’re past the setup screen, tap “Explore” in the bottom toolbar.
Tap the Search icon at the top right. There are a few terms you can use to find the more Google-y watch faces, including “Google,” “Pixel,” and “Material.”
When you find a watch face you like, just tap it (you might be asked to grant Facer some permissions).
Tap the “Tap to Sync Face” button to send the watch face to your wrist.