Play Store on Wear OS

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Google showed off some of what Android fans can expect from the September 2022 Google Play system updates, including improvements to Kids Space on tablets.

Update: This latest round of updates also includes new features for Google Wallet and a redesign of the Play Store on Wear OS.

A big part of what makes Android so useful is how many apps are integrated with Google Play Services. In recent months, Google has consolidated Play Services, the Play Store, and “Google Play System Updates” introduced in Android 10. Each month, the company slack what changes to expect from this trio, which they’ve dubbed “Google System Updates,” and they’re steadily adding more patch notes throughout the month.

The easiest way to check if you need to update Google Play Services on your phone is to follow a direct link to the app. Play Store sheet and update from there, if available. To update the Play Store, tap your avatar in the corner, then tap “Settings.” In the “About” section, you will see an option to “Update the Play Store”. Meanwhile, Google Play system updates can be found through the Settings app, under About phone > Android version > Google Play system update.

With September still a day away from the start, Google has already shared the first batch of Google System Update patch notes. Beyond the same boilerplate patch notes delivered each month by the Play Store team, there are a few changes coming to Android’s “Kids Space” experience.

For starters, Google allows Kids Space to be installed on a secondary account during setup, making it easy to share Android tablets among family members of different ages. You can also hide certain apps from Kids Space during setup, if you wish.


Update 9/1: Now that September is well underway, we’ve received our next batch of patch notes, with a particular focus on improvements to the Play Store on Wear OS smartwatches. According to the notes, the Play Store is getting a new homepage on wearable devices, as previously announced, which aims to be “content forward”, including new app recommendations.

Another interesting improvement for Watches is that if you install an app on your Wear OS device that requires a companion app on your phone, the Play Store should soon install that app automatically. It’s likely, though not guaranteed, that these Play Store improvements will arrive for smartwatch owners in September.

Along with these updates, Google has also added additional information about last month’s Google Play system update. Apparently this update adds support for the recent DST change in Chile (Microsoft has some more details), which is expected to go into effect next week.


Update 9/7: Google has again updated the patch notes for September, this time focusing on new Google Wallet features. When using Android’s “digital car key” features, your phone should soon offer “visual feedback” to make it clearer what’s going on. Google Wallet is also acquiring the ability to show open-loop options when searching for transit passes, as well as “new payment methods” for Wear OS in Japan.

The latest Play Services update should include helpful tutorials for Android 13 changes, probably in the “Help” or “Tips & Support” section of your phone’s settings. Elsewhere, the Play Store is set to offer a revamped “Play’s Top Picks” storefront, which lets you quickly expand the details of each app to find out more.

A curious addition to the patch notes claims that Android’s autofill system should soon warn you if your password was discovered during a security breach. It’s not clear how this differs from the password verification feature that was incorporated into AutoFill last year.


Google Play system updates for September 2022

Account management

  • [Phone] Allows users to hide recommended apps during the Google Kids Space onboarding process.
  • [Auto, Phone, TV, Wear] Sync and account recovery improvements.
  • [Phone] Ability to install Google Kids Space on the secondary user of a tablet during device setup.

Google Play Store

  • New features to help you discover the apps and games you love.
  • Optimizations allowing faster and more reliable download and installation.
  • Ongoing improvements to Play Protect to protect your device.
  • Various performance optimizations, bug fixes, and security, stability, and accessibility improvements.
  • [Wear OS] With Play Store updates on the Wear OS homepage, users can experience a new content display that makes it easier to find recommended apps.
  • [Wear OS] When users install an app on their Wear OS device that requires a companion app, their mobile device automatically installs the companion app.
  • [Wear OS] New secondary menu to allow users to browse recommended apps for their Wear OS, Android TV or Android Auto devices from their Android phones.
  • [Phone] Learn more about Play’s Top Picks by expanding the results to see more app or game details right in the Play’s Top Picks module.

Support

  • New developer features for Google and third-party app developers to support developer services related to account management, security, and privacy in their apps.

Utilities

  • [Auto, Phone] Autofill will now notify users if their login credentials were found during a public data breach.

Wallet

  • [Phone] Now you can get visual feedback when you lock, unlock or start your car with a digital car key.
  • [Wear OS] This feature allows you to add new payment methods to Google Pay in Japan.
  • [Phone] Enable the display of open-loop transit agencies in the list of purchasable transit passes.

Developer Services

  • New developer features for Google and third-party app developers to support developer services related to account management, security, and privacy in their apps.

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