Google Fit Developer Challenge Promotes Healthy Competition

Google has announced a developer challenge in hopes of promoting the creation of Google Fit applications. Submissions are now being accepted and the deadline is February 15, 2015. Winners will be chosen and announced in March. The best 6 apps will be prominently featured on Google Play. Runners-up will recieve various smart devices from Google Fit partners, allowing further development on the latest hardware. 


ProgrammableWeb posed several questions to Angana Ghosh, Product Manager of Google Fit, about the Developers' Challenge. When asked why Adidas, Polar, and Withings were selected as partners. Ghosh said they were a match because:

We wanted to send the message that the Fit Platform helps people of all fitness levels and with a wide variety of goals - from heart health, to athletic training, to weight loss and more. Our list of partners reflects that perfectly.

While many developer challenges are free-for-alls, in this case there is a fairly clearly delineated set of ideas Google is putting forward:

We actually put together a page to let developers know what type of apps we are looking for and to inspire some new ideas. It includes everything from:

  • Building fitness based games that focus on reaching specific goals
  • Helping make fitness stats more accurate
  • Sharing fitness data with friends and family
  • Focusing more on specific groups (e.g. disabilities, certain ages, etc.)
  • Creating an immersive experiences

Crucially, Ghosh added, other APIs beyond Google's and those from its challenge partners can also be incorporated into the final product. Developers need to use at least one of the Fit APIs, follow the terms of service and then any tools beyond that are fair game.

Finally, there's a key issue that is forefront in the minds of many developers. Recently, Fitbit was excommunicated from Apple's App Store on the grounds that it did not support Apple Health. Is Google considering similar Google Play restrictions when it comes to support of Google Fit, or does it intend to allow apps into Google Play that run independently of Google Fit? Just exactly what will the health ecosystem include? Ghosh responded:

Unfortunately, we can't provide comment on that at the moment.

At least for this challenge, that's not relevant; all entries have to use at least one Google Fit API.

Be sure to read the next Competitions article: Kandy Real-Time Communication Hackathon Offers $10,000 to Winner