Following Apple’s launch of HealthKit earlier this month, Google has also re-entered the health and fitness segment by unveiling a new health & fitness tracking platform called Google Fit at its ongoing annual developer conference Google I/O 2014. (Our entire coverage of Google I/O 2014 here)
This platform will be a part of the Google’s next Android release and will provide a single set of APIs for app developers to manage fitness data from apps and sensors on cross-platform devices and on wearables. It will apparently provide an unified view of the user’s fitness activity enabling developers to build smarter and more comprehensive health apps.
Google Play product manager Ellie Powers mentions that if users grant explicit permission, apps can have access to a user’s entire fitness data to provide better recommendations to users. For instance, she showed a weight loss coach app Noom, which communicated to Withings scale for weight data and provide recommendation to users.
Partners: Google has roped in prominent fitness brands like Adidas which will be opening up data from its smart sensors to developers on Google Fit platform. Nike will apparently allow other apps and fitness devices to integrate with Nike Fuel through this API. It will also be publishing Nike Fuel data to the Fit platform, allowing third party apps to make use of this data to provide better insights to users.
Other partners include Intel’s Basis, Runtastic, Runkeeper, Withings, Asus, HTC, LG, Motorola and Polar among others. Worth noting is the absence of the popular fitness trackers like Fitbit and Jawbone, although its possible that these companies can come on board by the time of the next Android release.
Google Fit’s platform preview SDK is expected to be available in few weeks and developers can sign up for the SDK here. While Google didn’t mention it in the keynote, its possible that that Google is also building a dedicated heath app like Apple’s Health app.
Why this is important? Google Fit and Apple’s HealthKit platforms are significant since this allows companies to access more data and thereby provide more accurate fitness and health recommendations to users.
Right now, health-related apps and fitness trackers track and store data separately and don’t typically talk to each other. Hence this data remains siloed within the respective apps, which usually led to inaccurate recommendations and users gradually stop using these apps.