Google Fit for Android Released, Promises Easier Activity Tracking

Google recently made Google Fit available to Android devices. The app, which is free to download from the Google Play Store, takes advantage of built-in sensors to track and manage activity. It is also compatible with a small-and-growing list of fitness devices. Google hopes third-party app developers will sink their teeth into the service to enrich the experience for end users. 

According to Google, Google Fit can automatically tell when you're walking, biking, or running thanks to the sensors in your phone. (Think accelerometer, 6-axis controller, magnetometer, etc.) It can be set to monitor activity and log it for tracking fitness goals based on activity levels. The information is presented in easy-to-glean graphs and charts that provid daily, weekly, and monthly views of your progress. Fit is based on smartphone usage, but the data can be checked online, on Android tablets, and via Android Wear devices. 

At launch, Google Fit is compatible with a handful of fitness devices and apps. Some of the initial supporters include Strava, Eithings, Runtastic, Runkeeper, and Noom Coach. Data generated by these apps finds its way into the Google Fit app and is incorporated into the data available there. Google says the benefit of this is that it gives users one spot through which to view all their health and fitness data. It negate the need to continually open different apps to find different information. 

Here's where developers can get involved. The more devices and apps that support Google Fit, the better off consumers will be. You'll need the latest version of the Android 5.0 Lollipop, which is available here. With the SDK and associated preview images of Android 5.0 for the Nexus 5 and Nexus 7, developers should be able to hook into Google Fit with no problem. 

Google Fit for Android mirrors some of the functionality of Apple's HealthKit. HealthKit, which has its own developer tools, allows IOS device owners to galnce the same type of health and fitness information from a single screen. Apple has been a bit more proactive in talking about HealthKit, especially since it has dedicated APIs. Google hasn't called out specific APIs for Google Fit just yet. Either way, Google Fit is another angle through which developers can reach Android users. 

 

Eric Zeman I am a journalist who covers the mobile telecommunications industry. I freelance for ProgrammableWeb and other online properties.

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