Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 owners are getting this great free upgrade today

The Galaxy Watch 4 has been missing this crucial feature since it launched last year

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 on a person's wrist
(Image credit: Future)

In our Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 review we said it was "a must-have smartwatch", but one of its promised features – Google Assistant – wasn't there at launch. At long last the feature is rolling out to Galaxy Watch 4 owners, and it's happening today. That's a massive upgrade for an already excellent smartwatch, and while we thought we'd get it in April it's definitely a case of better late than never.

The new Assistant app is now available on the Play Store (opens in new tab) and makes your Galaxy Watch even more useful. It's rolling out to ten different markets including the UK, USA, Ireland and Australia.

Here's what's new.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 on a woman's wrist

(Image credit: Samsung)

What does Google Assistant do on the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4?

According to Google, you can use the Google Assistant voice commands to perform the following actions:

• Manage your time, 'start a timer', 'set an alarm', 'set reminders'
• Keep in touch with family and friends, 'start a call', 'send a message'
• Keep track of your fitness goals, 'start a run'
• Control your smart home, 'turn on bedroom light'
• Get your questions answered, 'where is the nearest coffee shop?', 'how's the weather today?'

Google also says that it's fast, and early reports back that up: the voice recognition appears to happen on-device and delivers almost instant results. The activation process is a little on the long side but once you've set it up it appears to work flawlessly.

In addition to voice activation you can also assign a hardware button in Settings > Advanced Features > Customise Keys.

It's a shame it's taken so long but this is a really impressive update to an already impressive watch. I'm not a Google user – my watch is an Apple Watch Series 7 – but I'm envious of this: as much as I like my watch, it feels that the Siri voice assistant is lagging behind Google and Amazon. And it'll be interesting to see how the Galaxy Watch compares to the forthcoming Google Pixel Watch: will the presence of a Fitbit app be enough to tempt people away from Samsung now the latter is properly Google-powered? We'll find out very soon.

Writer, musician and broadcaster Carrie Marshall has been covering technology since 1998 and is particularly interested in how tech can help us live our best lives. Her CV is a who’s who of magazines, newspapers, websites and radio programmes ranging from T3, Techradar and MacFormat to the BBC, Sunday Post and People’s Friend. Carrie has written thirteen books, ghost-wrote two more and co-wrote another seven books and a Radio 2 documentary series. When she’s not scribbling, she’s the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR (havrmusic.com (opens in new tab)).