More and more, health and fitness are becoming a point of major focus for the mobile space. The recently announced iOS 8 will have a built-in Health and Fitness layer that developers can use and access, brands like Nike have invested into accessories and apps for the mobile space in the past, and services like Runtastic are very popular and spread wide across platforms. Samsung has also been very active on this segment, seeing their latest devices ship with health apps, a fitness platform, and various sensors. So, it comes as no surprise that Google has also been cooking something up in the meantime and should be ready to unveil it soon, possibly at I/O 2014, on June 25 and 26. However, it seems that some parts of this new service are already leaking out, so let’s take a look at what we know so far.
According to what we know so far, Google will launch this new health and fitness platform that would allow third party apps to capture your health-related data and act upon it. It’s unclear at this point whether this new service will simply be an API, have its own app, or even be embedded into Google Play, but we do know that the plan is to keep it open and accessible to all developers if you wish to do so. This way, it is also likely to be usable on past versions of Android. Right now, Google already does some preliminary guessing work on this front, as some Google Now users are faced with a screen letting them know how many steps they took and miles walked/biked that month. The Nexus 5 also includes a hardware pedometer, which is a feature that quietly slipped under the radar and has been under utilized but that could finally see major use with something like this as a precise calorie counter.
One thing worth pointing out about this news is that more than likely, Google will use the upcoming Android Wear companion devices to feed data into this service. While we don’t really know the specifics yet about what sort of sensors and hardware products like the Moto 360 or LG Watch will have, it’s likely that they might be equipped with more capable and in-depth sensors than the usual smartphone: possibly hardware heartbeat and pedometer sensors at the very least. This service would then be able to grab that data in real time and feed it to your smartphone or other devices and profile your physical activity, calories spent and exercise routine. Maybe you don’t even need to take your device with you anymore, and simply dump the data when you come home: the possibilities are vast and I’m anxious to see how Google will address this.
This isn’t a novel concept though, and Health has been a field that many key players have tackled in the past, but a combination of hardware precision and law regulations made it impractical or at the very least cumbersome to reach wide adoption. Now that we all have computers in our pockets, things may be about to change and this sort of technology could be widespread and gain some real adoption, especially if Google makes it a part of stock Android and marries it with their upcoming smartwatches and other Android Wear devices. We could have precise monitoring and hassle-free data entry, and hopefully a standard for the sort of accessories and data these services use. Of course, as always, privacy is a concern and may be a put-off for many users. What is you opinion about this subject, though? Please let us know in the comment section below!