Google Wallet for Wear OS will get more features as update breaks button shortcut for some

At launch, the new Google Wallet app is just focused on tap-to-pay on Wear OS, but more functionality is coming later this year. Meanwhile, the update is causing issues for the double-tap button shortcut on some watches.

Yesterday’s wide rollout of Google Wallet to replace the old Pay app primarily introduces updated branding on Wear OS. The wearable application is still meant for quickly making payments with credit and debit cards. 

However, Google has broader plans for Wallet on Wear OS in 2022 besides expanding regional availability:

We will add more functionality and features to Google Wallet starting later this year, and expand Google Wallet support to more countries.

Looking at the phone app, this could easily include transit passes, loyalty cards, event tickets, and vaccine records. It would also make a great deal of sense if Google Wallet for Wear OS eventually supported driver’s licenses, student IDs, digital car keys (NFC ones seem obvious, but ultra-wide band would be nifty on a watch), and house keys. Those things are already possible on the Apple Watch. 

Meanwhile, this update is breaking the ability to double-click a hardware button to access payments on some watches. Fossil Gen 5 (removed with Gen 6) and the TicWatch Pro 3 have long let you hit a predefined button twice to launch Google Pay.

This shortcut does not launch anything after the Google Wallet update, and cannot be manually set by end users since it’s a default behavior. Hopefully, a full system update is not required to address this issue.

You can of course set a different button to launch Wallet, but this might take away an existing shortcut. One alternative is placing Google Wallet as a watch face complication.

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