Many wearables running Google’s WearOS operating system are being updated to remind users to wash their hands. As spotted by Android Police, any WearOS device that gets the latest v5.4.0 update will alert wearers periodically to wash hands, and prompt them to start a 40 second timer.

The prompts also advise to use soap. The alerts are sent from Google’s Clock app for WearOS, and can be disabled by holding down the notification if desired.

It’s a small but clever update from Google that will hopefully encourage a few more people out there to adhere to hygiene advice during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Some people might find it obtrusive though, and Apple has not moved to bring in anything similar on its Apple Watch or iOS devices. It’s notable Google is only doing its notifications for wearables and not phones – perhaps WearOS is a test bed for wider distribution to other platforms.

Apple and Google are working together on a contract tracing system that uses Bluetooth to help track positive Covid-19 cases with others they may have come into contact with.