Despite the fact that it has yet to reveal the iWatch, Apple clearly had the wearable device in mind when it unveiled HealthKit for iOS at WWDC last week. A new report indicates that Google may be preparing to announce its own health data aggregation app at its I/O conference at the end of the month – an app that will likely be called Google Fit.
According to Forbes, Google Fit will be the Android operating system’s version of HealthKit: the app will aggregate biometric and health data from wearable devices all into one spot. Citing a source “with knowledge of Google’s plans,” Forbes says that compatible wearable devices that record users’ biometric data – information like heart rate, steps taken or calories burned, for instance – will be able to “interface with Google’s cloud-based services, and become part of the Google Fit ecosystem.” The post adds that it isn’t yet known whether Google Fit will be included in the next version of its Android OS, or if it will be a separate app that can be downloaded to Android devices.
If these details are true, it seems clear that Google Fit is being designed with Android Wear devices in mind. Analysts expect the company to reveal more information about the first two such devices at I/O this month: LG’s G Watch and Motorola’s Moto 360. Even if Google stays quiet on those two wearables, an app like Google Fit would easily fit in well with the current crop of smartwatches and smartbands that are already on sale. From Samsung’s line of Gear smartwatches to Sony’s SmartWatch and SmartBand devices, there are a number of wearables designed to work with Android that would benefit from an Android version of HealthKit.
This wouldn’t be Google’s first foray into tracking users’ health, though. Some may recall Google Health, a service launched in 2008 that was discontinued four years later. Google said at the time that the cancellation was due to the service “not having the broad impact that we hoped.” One of the key differences between Google Health and what we’re hearing about Google Fit is that the former required users to manually enter information. Wearable technology’s great selling point is the fact that most smart devices are passive—they collect data while users simply live their lives, giving people an insight into how they live their lives without requiring them to actively keep track of their activities.
Apple’s impending HealthKit announcement was no secret to the tech world in advance of its unveiling at WWDC, so it isn’t surprising that Google would have its own version of the aggregation app in the works. Furthermore, Apple won’t be releasing HealthKit to consumers until iOS 8 leaves beta and is released this fall. If Google can release Google Fit along with Android Wear devices this summer, Apple will have its work cut out for it when it finally enters the wearable sector later this year.