Google's Wear OS will send you periodic reminders to wash your hands

If a pandemic isn't enough of a reminder that washing your hands is good hygiene, Wear OS will nudge you in the right direction.

Woman washing hands with soap over sink in bathroom, closeup

Android Police has spotted a new and rather time-appropriate change in Google smartwatches. Wear OS, Google's operating system for its wearables, will give its users periodic reminders to wash their hands in the v5.4.0 installment of the Google Clock app.

Of course, the addition of this reminder won't bring COVID-19 to its knees, but it could effectively help forgetful people stay vigilant about basic hygiene.

How the reminder works — According to Android Police, the reminder goes off every three hours. When you head over to the sink, you tap your watch and it starts a 40-second countdown for scrubbing and rinsing your hands. So, it's twice the official recommended duration, which is a plus. And if you don't want to be reminded every three hours, you can disable it in the notification settings in the app. Simple.

Tech tackles habit and health — The Wear OS tweak has obviously been made as a response to the coronavirus outbreak. Multiple public health organizations have strongly encouraged people to wash their hands for at least 20 seconds (or singing "Happy Birthday" normal-paced twice in a row), especially if they have been outside their homes. People who don't have immediate access to soap should make use of a good hand sanitizer.

Medical experts and epidemiologists also note that you should avoid touching your face in order to limit surface-to-surface contagion. Now, ditching the almost innate habit of touching your face is very hard. But some tech companies are trying to help people on the habit-breaking front. As Input previously reported, the Immutouch smart wristband is a gadget that actually vibrates when you raise your hand to touch your face.