The end for Google Play Music, one of the few remaining “Play” services, is just around the corner. It has been months, maybe even years, coming but it hasn’t been a smooth transition. YouTube Music, which is set to replace is it, still isn’t on feature parity with Play Music and only recently got the ability to migrate albums from one to the other. When Google flips the switch in the coming weeks, however, it will be Wear OS smartwatch owners that will be left with the short end of the stick instead.
It might come as a surprise to some but it was only when Google announced the impending shutdown of Play Music that users of the service let the world known that they do exist and are not happy. Google promised that YouTube Music would be on par with the retiring service but many beg to differ even to date. Now comes yet another blow, this time for those who prefer to keep their music on their wrist, literally.
That the Play Music app for Wear OS will be going away is not really a surprise. Unfortunately for Wear OS, it leaves a hole that no other app is able to fill in, at least for now. While you can load music on your smartwatch to play without streaming without a smartphone nearby, you can only do so with the Google Play Music app.
Google has confirmed Wear OS users’ worst fears, that they will no longer be able to leave their smartphones at home when they go out for a run and still listen to their workout music. Google assures them that they can still use their smartwatches to control music playing on their phone but that is hardly the same thing. Until Google comes out with an app replacement or a third-party app manages to find a way to do so, Wear OS smartwatches will suddenly become musically mute in the coming weeks.
This confirmation has opened old wounds of Wear OS owners who have long felt like they were second-class citizens of Google’s ecosystem. With the launch of Samsung’s new Galaxy Watch 3, it becomes even more painful to watch, no pun intended, Google’s wearable platform lagging behind in both hardware and software. Suddenly abandoning users with no replacement or recompense won’t help it win fans either.