Washing your hands is a basic front-line defense against not only the novel coronavirus, but you know, a whole host of germs and general nastiness. And apparently, a disturbing number of people don’t do it as often as they should. To help the crustiest among us to wash their damn hands in this dire time, Google has updated Wear OS smartwatches with a handy handwashing timer.
The timer is part of the v 5.4.0 update and it’s simply an alert that pops up periodically through the day. Though it’s related to Google’s Clock app, you can also access it separately via a shortcut in the app drawer. Once you select it, you’ll see a 3-second countdown before it launches into the actual 40-second timer. After you’ve finished, the watch buzzes and congratulates you on committing to basic hygiene; it also notes you’ll get another alert in three hours.
But wait—doesn’t the Center for Disease Control say that 20 seconds is enough? Well, technically that 20-second recommendation is a minimum. At this point in time, it might do you and the world some good to be an overachiever and really get into sudsing up your filthy flesh mitts. You do have to touch your smartwatch screen to get that timer going, however, so it’s also probably a good idea to wipe that down every so often as well.
I gave the timer a whirl over a few bathroom breaks and while prepping breakfast. In general, that 40-seconds whizzes by faster than you’d expect—and at least anecdotally, it definitely seems faster than me humming two rounds of Happy Birthday. It’s also infinitely less annoying than the cringetastic Google Assistant handwashing song that dropped a few weeks ago. In any case, in the event that you’d like to disable the reminders by pressing down on the notifications. But you know, it really can’t hurt to wash your hands an extra 8 times a day.