Google is no stranger to building for iOS—in fact, the company is reportedly working on linking its Android Wear smartwatch platform to iPhones. But until that big project is done, Google is testing the waters of Apple’s own smartwatch platform with its new Google News & Weather app for Apple Watch.
Google News & Weather for iOS is a great iPhone app. It rounds up the latest links on the web from 65,000 news organizations and serves them up with the day’s forecast on the side. You can fine-tune the app to show you only certain news categories, like tech and business.
But on the Apple Watch, the app isn’t so great. It’s not as slick as other Apple Watch news apps, like the New York Times app. On the watch, Google News & Weather serves up 10 news headlines and sometimes a photo. You can Force Touch an article to add it to your Safari Reading List. And that’s it. There’s not even weather. It feels like Google hastily slapped together an Apple Watch app just to see what the development process was like, rather than build a fully-featured, must-have app.
Why this matters: Google News & Weather is a disappointing Apple Watch entry, and it makes me nervous for Google’s future watch efforts. Will the company put as little time into making Maps for the watch as it did into News & Weather? Apple Watch still needs an amazing maps app with public transit directions—sorry, Apple, Google still has this market cornered—and I hope Google is actually working on Maps for Apple Watch. But it’ll have to be much better than News & Weather.