Google has released an update to their Android Wear software with features such as Gestures and Wifi support intended to differentiate their watches from Apple’s Watch.

Google has released an update to Android Wear to provide some exciting new features to existing wearables.  New features include an open Watch Face API, wrist gesture support, Wifi support for tethering to your phone beyond the range of Bluetooth, and the ability to draw Emojis on your watch face for messaging apps.  This comes as Apple Watch preorders are gearing up and is certainly a calculated move to steal some of the spotlight away from Apple.

Starting today you can download watch faces from Google Play, just like you do with apps. We’ve got dozens of examples to get you started—from the unpredictable Minions in Despicable Me to the X-Ray artistry of Hugh Turvey. And because the new Watch Face API is available to all developers, you can expect even more choices in the weeks and months ahead.  —  Google Blog

Another noteworthy feature is the ability to connect your watch to Wifi.  This allows your watch to interact with your phone from anywhere, even if not on the same network.

With GPS and offline music support, you can already leave your phone at home, then go jogging and jamming like normal. Now Android Wear supports watches with built-in Wi-Fi. As long as your watch is connected to a Wi-Fi network, and your phone has a data connection (wherever it is), you’ll be able to get notifications, send messages, and use all your favorite apps. And if you really do forget your phone, you can always ask your watch where it is.  — Google Blog

The updates are coming over time to all existing Android Wear watches, with features availability based on the hardware of the watch.  The first watches to have the new software will be the LG Watch Urbane.