Profile cover photo
Profile photo
Michael Masnick
Michael's posts

Okay my latest use of Google+ to see if someone at Google can get things working the way I want them to work.  :)  Alternatively, any Android app developers out there: I could REALLY use an Android Wear notifier tool that lets me have granular control over watch notifications.  e.g. when people I designate as "important" text me, I get a longer buzz, so I can tell (without looking) if it's important.  Right now it seems random as to how forceful the watch vibrates on notifications, meaning some are so faint that I miss them.  Others are longer, but it feels kind of random how it works.  It would be nice if I could design custom notifications (multiple buzzes, long buzzes, short buzzes, etc.) so I could get a sense of what's happening even without looking at the Android Wear smart watch...  

Okay, so I'm posting this on Google Plus in the hopes that it means someone at Google who can do something about it will actually see this...

I stopped wearing a watch years ago, because a mobile phone felt like it made the watch obsolete.  However, on a whim, I backed the Pebble smartwatch project on Kickstarter quite early, and when that watch finally arrived (well late of the estimated ship date, of course), I realized just how astoundingly useful and powerful a smartwatch can be.  And here's the key bit:

The killer app for the smart watch is text messages/notifications.

That's it. Suddenly, the fact that I could leave my phone untouched in my pocket or on a table somewhere, but quickly and easily get alerted to a text message from my wife, allowing me to unobtrusively glance at my wrist, getting the full gist of the message, without interrupting whatever else I was doing, was mind-bendingly powerful.  I'm still amazed when people don't see this, or when people say "what's the big deal, I can just get my phone out of my pocket?"  Except you can't.  Not all the time.  It's often not just rude and disruptive, but it takes you out of whatever you were already doing.  The very ambient nature of the information just appearing subtly on my wrist, easily viewable by me quickly, made a smartwatch (specifically the Pebble) revolutionary to me. 

I have the sound on my phone completely turned off.  Not just set to vibrate, but off.  I just get all important notifications on my watch, and the number of times I actually have to touch my phone has gone down by a huge amount.  The number of times I have to stop what I'm doing to get the phone, unlock it, find the notification, etc., have all gone away.  Important notifications come in, pop up on the watch, alerting me with a little vibration, and boom, I can see what's important and move on with my life.  Granular controls over what kind of notifications I get (partly from third party apps) make this even more powerful.

Okay, so here's where the Google issue comes in.  I've been testing out the Android Wear Moto 360, and as far as I can tell (and this is beyond stunning to me), Android Wear DOES NOT DO TEXT MESSAGES.  

And here's where it's even more bizarre. There appears to be ABSOLUTELY NO integration between Google Voice and Android Wear, despite both being at the same damn company.

Yes, I know that Google Voice has become the ugly stepchild of Google, which no longer seems to get any support.  And, yes, I know the idea is to basically merge its functionality into the still unusable Google Hangouts product. But, seriously? The one true killer app for smartwatches is the text messaging, and IT DOESN'T WORK at all on Android Wear watches?

The Moto 360 sure looks pretty, but how could Google have prioritized totally useless things like booking a flight on my watch over the thing that actually makes the watch valuable: the ability to get and easily read text messages quickly?  I don't get it. It's like the people who designed it have never actually used smartwatches (and I won't even get into how the vibrate on the Moto 360 is way too subtle or that it's really lacking the ability to granularly control other notifications, preferring to let Google Now decide for you what it thinks is important).

So, if anyone actually works on Google Voice any more, and for anyone who works on Android Wear: a simple request: Get it so that I can actually know when my wife texts me.  Otherwise, the Pebble remains a far superior product for doing the most useful thing a smartwatch today can do, even if it's nearly two years old, isn't nearly as pretty and doesn't do voice recognition (which isn't that helpful in the first place).

Just let me get my text messages easily, and the product makes sense. Without it... why bother?

For any Google folks reading this (especially if you work on Google Plus or YouTube), I'm hoping that someone can fix this situation. Last year, I wanted to start using Google Hangouts on Air on Techdirt.  In order to connect my Techdirt account to YouTube, I was FORCED to close my personal YouTube account, and make our Techdirt account my personal YouTube account. I didn't want to do this.  But I asked around and was told that was the ONLY way I could do Hangouts on Air via Techdirt.  So I did it. Now when I surf Youtube, I do so as "techdirt."

Now, over the last month or so, every time I go to YouTube, it scolds me for not using my personal name, and tries to force me to drop Techdirt, and put my Google Plus identity on my YouTube account.

But, of course, the videos I've uploaded on that account are Techdirt videos, not my personal videos, and I'd like to keep it that way.  Of course, I can't upload personal videos because YouTube/Google forced me to shut down that account.

So, basically, the whole situation sucks.  I'd like to be able to use both accounts, without Google/YouTube fighting over what account it is, or forcing me to close or rename accounts.

Anyone out there who can help sort this out?

Post has attachment
Michael Masnick hung out with 1 person. <a class='ot-hashtag' href=''>#hangoutsonair</a>Fake Cory

Post has attachment
Michael Masnick hung out with 1 person. <a class='ot-hashtag' href=''>#hangoutsonair</a>Cole Stryker

Post has attachment
Michael Masnick hung out with 1 person. <a class='ot-hashtag' href=''>#hangoutsonair</a>Christopher Sprigman

Post has attachment
Michael Masnick hung out with 1 person. <a class='ot-hashtag' href=''>#hangoutsonair</a>KTetch Dureek

Post has attachment
Of all the new products we're offering over at our Techdirt Insider Shop (, I think the Seized Tee is my favorite: (more info:

Post has attachment
Michael Masnick hung out with 1 person. <a class='ot-hashtag' href=''>#hangoutsonair</a>Leigh Beadon

Post has attachment
Michael Masnick hung out with 1 person. <a class='ot-hashtag' href=''>#hangoutsonair</a>Leigh Beadon
Wait while more posts are being loaded