Google says that it’s now pushing the Android 5.1.1 update out to Android Wear devices, which includes features like always-on apps and Wi-Fi support. It’s been discovered that the update also enables a major new feature that Google hasn’t said anything about, too.
With the latest version of Google Maps (v9.9) and the Android 5.1.1 update, you can run Google Maps on your Android Wear smartwatch. The folks at Android Police discovered that Google Maps appeared in the app list on their watch, and upon launching it, were able to use most of the features that you’d expect from a mapping app. Those include pinch-to-zoom — yes, you can pinch-to-zoom on a tiny smartwatch screen — as well as buttons for a locator and zooming in and out. The app doesn’t sound fully baked quite yet, though, as features like nearby places don’t yet work.
Google Maps is one of Google’s biggest and most popular apps, and so it seemed like it was only a matter of time before the app showed up on Android Wear, especially now that the Apple Watch has launched with support for Apple Maps. Since not all of the features of Maps for Android Wear work, I’d say that the app probably isn’t quite ready for prime time, but it may not be long before we see a full-on launch.