Report: Google is Planning a Health-Tracking Service
Set to be called Google Fit, it is expected to make its official debut at the upcoming I/O Developer conference later in June, and, like Apple’s new HealthKit, will be able to pool data from a host of fitness and activity trackers.
According to Forbes, which has spoken to “multiple sources,” Google has already inked deals with a number of device manufacturers so that data gathered from their gadgets will flow freely into Google’s service for analysis and aggregation.
What Forbes can’t yet confirm is whether Google Fit will be an app or whether it will be built into the next version of Android, the operating system that currently runs on over 1 billion smartphones and tablets globally.
Apple’s HealthKit, which it debuted at its own developers conference on June 2, will be baked into the next version of its iPhone and iPad operating system, iOS8, and, as well as synching with devices like Nike’s Fuel Band, also draws information from the dedicated motion-sensing chip inside the iPhone 5S.
There’s a very good chance that Google will take a different route and push out its service as an app instead. The company is obsessed with gathering and analyzing data and the more it can gather, the better it can make its products. However, very few smartphones (less than 11% worldwide) run the latest version of Android due to the unique nature in which it is released to different consumers with different handsets on different contracts with different network operators in different parts of the world. There is neither rhyme not reason so the best way to get Google Fit into the lives of as many people as possible is to launch it as an app.
However, as the Forbes piece points out, unless consumers can see the benefit in using the service, there is no guarantee that the app will be installed. Google already tried to launch a health platform back in 2008. Called Google Health it failed to catch on because it was focused on aggregating data rather than providing users with useful information and by 2012 had been shuttered again.
Maybe with Google Fit the company has learned its lesson and as the I/O Developer Conference is due to start on June 25, we won’t have to wait long to find out.