It looks like the Google Pixel Watch is finally set to reach its full potential.
Since launch, it was Google’s first wearable capable of tracking blood oxygen saturation (SpO2) measurements from your wrist, but strangely enough, the feature has been disabled. Some say it was because Google was waiting for FDA approval, but that’s not entirely necessary: The Apple Watch’s Blood Oxygen app ran without it, after all.
Whatever the reason, it looks like Google may finally be ready to enable the feature for everyone, eg A bunch of Reddit users I spotted my SpO2 readings overnight on the “Fitbit Today” app on the device.
As the screenshots below show, the data appears below the feed, with a percentage for “last sleep session”. Clicking it gives a full screen explanation of what it means, as shown in the second image.
Previously, the Pixel Watch only provided an estimated oxygen variance (EOV) in the “recovery” area. The fact that the Pixel Watch is now recording an actual number for a percentage indicates that the feature is finally ready for showtime.
“I went back and looked at previous weeks and not a single data point,” the discussion maker wrote. “I wonder why you first appeared to me last night.”
But it hasn’t reached all wrists yet. The majority of users in the Reddit thread have yet to see any logged data, though at least one other person confirmed it appeared for them for the first time, too.
With Reddit’s anonymity, it’s impossible to know why some users have it and others don’t. The feature may be geo-locked, but Google is likely simply doing the rollout process to make sure it doesn’t break anything when it’s enabled.
What does a SpO2 sensor do?
SpO2 sensors are available in a lot of wearable devices and estimate the amount of oxygen in your blood, by the red and infrared light shining on your skin. The light reflectance method is used to estimate oxygen saturation levels.
A score of 95% and above is considered good, but anything above 92% is considered in the normal region. Below that, it may be time for more testing and further investigation.
For wearable devices, the scale has a number of uses. First, it is often used as a useful measure when assessing sleep quality. And when used while sleeping, it can also detect signs of sleep apnea, which can cause health problems if left untreated.
Other medical conditions can also cause low levels of oxygen in the blood, so patients with asthma, heart disease, pneumonia, and others might welcome a passive method of measuring—even if it isn’t considered as accurate as measuring via a fingertip with a dedicated PulseOx monitor.
It’s also useful for athletes who train at altitude, who will want to keep a close eye on their blood oxygen levels as they acclimate.
We hope that all Google Pixel Watch users will be able to benefit from this additional data soon.