14
Jun
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We have heard tell (from Forbes) that Google is preparing a new service called Google Fit, supposedly for debut at I/O, where the company is expected to also announce partnerships with certain wearables manufacturers. The report says that Google Fit will provide developers with APIs to plug into the service, and that the overall goal is a second take at the quantified health data space.

With Apple recently unveiling HealthKit, the iron is hot. We have independently received information (as mentioned in our coverage of the Forbes report) indicating that Google is indeed working on a fitness effort, but there's just a little bit more to the story.

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Image source: LG G Watch system dump

As with our last two exclusives, we won't treat this post as a regular rumor. While anything can change leading up to release, we feel confident in the information available to us.

How Does It Work?

According to the information available to us, Google Play Fitness is likely to be the final name for Google's new fitness tracking effort. The easiest way to explain how Google Play Fitness will likely work is by comparing it to Google Play Games.

Google Play Games, as we know, is an app users can download from the Play Store. It aggregates the games, achievements, and matches you've racked up over your Android gaming tenure, so long as the games you play integrate the service's backend features for those things. Similarly, our information seems to indicate that Google Play Fitness would be a discreet app that aggregates, organizes, and presents fitness and health information gathered from apps that plug into the service. Also like Play Games, the sync point within Play Services will appear as Play Fitness.

There's no way of knowing just yet which apps are working on hooking up with the service already, or which partnerships Google will announce, but the overall goal here seems to be centered around making it as easy as possible for developers of fitness tracking apps and devices to hook into Google-provided backend services.

What we do know, however, is a little bit about what users will be able to do with it. While Play Fitness will likely be its own discrete app, the backend and a sparse collection of settings will live through Google Play Services, an update to which we can probably expect at I/O (of course nothing is certain with yet unreleased software). Through these settings, users would be able to manage their health data (presumably per-app), get help related to Play Fitness, and even clear their fitness history entirely.

The Play Services backend of Fitness, even without integrated apps, will have special considerations for motion recognition, determining speed and distance traveled, and hashing out any data conflicts between its own collection and "data points" collected from other apps.

Android Wear

We also know, from the leaked system dump, that LG's upcoming G Watch already has at least some aspiration to gathering fitness data for its users. A teardown of the ClockworkHomeGoogle apk reveals a "retail mode," in which promotional text makes mention of reaching fitness goals through a built-in pedometer.

<string name="retail_steps">Steps</string>
<string name="retail_pedometer_action">Hit your fitness goals with Android Wear.</string>
<string name="retail_slideshow_pedometer">Reach your fitness goals with daily stats.</string>

There is also evidence that the updated Google Play Services app contains a special adapter able to tap into wearable data for use with Play Fitness. Given the strings above, it seems clear that Android Wear, whether Google has specifically partnered with the manufacturer or not, will likely have at least some level of Play Fitness integration.

Final Thoughts

Information is obviously still incomplete when it comes to Google Play Fitness. The effort sounds like a good one, and Google's approach of offering integration for third-party apps and devices through Play Services will make it as easy as possible for developers to create highly functional, meaningful fitness experiences. Coupled with the built-in capabilities Google will apparently offer for motion and step tracking, Google Play Fitness might pose some healthy competition for HealthKit. According to Forbes the functionality will be unveiled in just a handful of days at Google I/O. We can't confirm that, but here's hoping.

Liam Spradlin
Liam loves Android, design, user experience, and travel. He doesn't love ill-proportioned letter forms, advertisements made entirely of stock photography, and writing biographical snippets.

  • Ilias

    OMG its gone be a very good google IO :D

  • http://ignaciozippy.com/ Ignacio Zippy

    At least Google still gets services right. That's their real specialty.

  • SSDROiD

    This might just be the kick I need to start exercising properly hahaha :D

  • Steve Jobs

    Great, another service that they'll advertise as "We're eager to see what cool stuff will you developers come up with!", only to end up completely abandoned and gathering dust.

    • http://AndroidPolice.com/ Liam Spradlin

      Are you referring back to a particular service where this happened?

    • siddude11

      Hi steve jobs. How are you? Did you got the beta iOS update?

      • Steve Jobs

        Of course I did, we all get the updates right after they were announced.

        • Prasad Tiruvalluri

          All they are have are updated bugs.. We are good at that you know..

    • moelsen8

      Sadly my first reaction was similar. That they'll unveil this really cool service that all android devs will ignore anyway, like design guidelines.. Cloud saves.. Etc. Something like Fitbit, which doesn't even use androids Bluetooth implementation as far as I understand it, will never get onboard and share data.

      • http://scottymeuk.co.uk/ Scott Robertson

        Fitbit do use it.

        • moelsen8

          Try finding the Fitbit device in androids Bluetooth settings. Or try using it as a trusted Bluetooth device on the moto x. Not saying it doesn't work or doesn't use Bluetooth. Just maybe doesn't use it properly.

          • Colin

            That's not the way a Fitbit works. It doesn't maintain a constant connection like a Pebble, it just connects periodically to sync.

          • moelsen8

            Well regardless.. I don't think they allow users to get their own raw data. Can't see them sharing with Google.

          • http://AndroidPolice.com/ Liam Spradlin

            Well, Google is rumored to be announcing partnership with other wearables manufacturers, so we'll see. If they have a big name starting out with it, maybe the service will catch on faster with developers.

          • athom07

            They already allow HTC to pull data with their new partnership. Also, you can't directly connect via Bluetooth to a Fitbit on a PC, iOS or android device. You basically knew nothing about this subject lol

          • moelsen8

            Why would I bring up pc or iOS device? No sh*t I couldn't connect to them via Bluetooth on Android or my laptop.. You like being being a piece or sh*t troll huh?

    • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

      You know, this sadly is true actually.... Same as with Play Games, and Holo UI, and notification syncing across devices, ...

      • http://scottymeuk.co.uk/ Scott Robertson

        Yeah... it's not like most of the top games in the Play Store use the leaderboards and Achievements From Google Play Games :P

        • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

          Also cloud save support

          But who the fuck cares about achievements anyway?

          • https://play.google.com/store/apps/developer?id=iWizard Bikram Agarwal

            It boggles my mind why game devs don't use the cloud save. And hey, achievements are addictive.

          • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

            Not on mobile, they aren't, at least

          • AbbyZFresh

            Most android users don't care to play games. They just want the phone to text, call, go Facebook, and that's it. Developers know this and see it's not worth the effort.

          • http://scottymeuk.co.uk/ Scott Robertson

            Ermmm.. can you show some proof of this?

    • Ryan Martin

      This is exactly why I wish they had their own hardware division, so that Android Wear for example can be more than just a simple notification display.. That bores me. And fuck LG's built in pedometer, pedometers are for the elderly and people that don't do fitness.
      I want a proper watch that has GPS along with Android Wear.
      But once again, Apple will show how it's done and then these Asian companies will come along and try and copy them with copycat hardware that doesn't quite hit the design spot.
      I hope Silver is what I hope for.

  • http://www.ronakg.com/ Ronak Gandhi

    Google and Apple are finally realizing that we need to move to person centric ecosystem rather than app centric ecosystem. Of course Apps play an important role in the move towards person centric ecosystem.

    Apple and Google are in the race for collecting as much data as possible about us to give us information/analytics about us.

    Let's see who wins this race. Google is way ahead of Apple because of Google Now. That's the perfect example of a person centric experience. My money is on Google.

    • AbbyZFresh

      Which is why people will go with Apple because they will work directly with health professionals and providers. Most importantly, protect your data without selling em.

      You can't trust Google on health stuff like this. They already have too much.

      • Prasad Tiruvalluri

        So what you are telling us is that Google knows the value of personal data because they monetize it so they are careful about it where as for Apple it is useless so why would they care. See everything can be spun which ever way you want to and you should know that all companies have to follow the same laws and they all can be punished if they misuse data. If you see, Apple seems to be the company that thinks it is special and fluting more laws than Google.. So you are free to make your own decision as to where your data will be safe..

  • siddude11

    SOMETHING BIG IS COMING HMMM...

  • bimsebasse

    Hopefully they'll revamp their My Tracks app in the process - it's ridiculously buggy and sparse.

  • http://danielbrierton.ie Daniel Brierton

    Told you. :P

    I wonder if there'll be any other big things added to Play Services at I/O.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      More on that soon.

      • http://danielbrierton.ie Daniel Brierton

        I look forward to it. Would love to see Android @ Home finally not being vaporware.

        • NF

          Interestingly, I've got a few comments on the hidden success of @Home. More on that soon.

          • http://www.bordersweather.co.uk/ Andy J

            ........I'm on the edge of my seat for this - and I'm serious, I've been patiently waiting for @home to actually become something!

  • BlakeDC

    The only wearable I'm interested in is that stuff Samsung is doing where it actually tracks blood pressure, heart rate etc.

    I don't care about how many steps I took if I can't actually see what those steps are doing to me.

    • Chemiclus

      Search for the Basis Band

  • Will S.

    People simply don't care about their health.

  • Jacob Long

    Google would do best not to get in a rat race with Apple over health wearables. We Americans are fat as hell and it isn't because we don't know how to fix it. Tech buyers want things that make them more productive or efficient. Google can do this!

    I constantly find myself thinking about how if I could have push notifications from Google Now, I'd love it, but I don't really want them on my phone when I'm trying to use it. Google Now on Android Wear will be absolutely perfect. Apple will have nothing to match the incredible usefulness of Google Now and the way it will work on a smartwatch.

    Imagine getting helpful reminders on your watch, sports updates, GPS directions to home/work, etc. all without having to do a thing.

  • NF

    This will only work if it's cross platform. Google can possibly one up Health Kit if it's easy to integrate and works on iOS. If they come out at the same time, who will say one is better.

    Also, I'd like to know more. Apple's implementation is just storing user generated data. I'd prefer to get electronic records as well. Google Health returns.

    • AbbyZFresh

      Cross platform is usesless. You think iOS users will care about Google Fit when Apple HealthKit is already there?

      • smackydoodle

        Apple Maps is already there, Mail is already there, do I need to continue?

        • AbbyZFresh

          You probably forgot the news that Google lost millions of Map users since they are too lazy to get out of the default Apple Maps.

  • William Bouchardon

    great idea! All our health & fitness data will be easier to use if eveything recorded on our Android Wear devices & via 3rd part apps is aggregated into 1 single app. And then, just by connecting apps to Google Play Fitness, we could have recommendations.
    But i don't really need this actually (i'm a teenager)

  • Francesco Lorenzet

    PLAY fitness? really? that make me hope that google play will totally change in android l
    not sure if in better.

  • maz

    OMG it rooted my LG G2 Mini, i was trying for about 1 month wihtout success, and now, with only 1 click.. BOOM ROOTED! O_O! <3 Geohot

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