The latest trend among major tech corporations appears to be centered upon health and fitness platforms. Samsung recently held a digital health event in San Francisco to talk about its health-oriented devices, followed by Apple’s unveiling of its new Health app and HealthKit platform at the WWDC keynote last week. Now, it appears that Google may be getting in on the action too.
According to Forbes, citing multiple sources knowledgable on the matter, Google is planning to launch a new health service called Google Fit for aggregating information from health and fitness apps. The data is said to be aggregated through open APIs and allows apps to share information. Google Fit is believed to be similar to Samsung’s new biometric data platform Sami that it announced last month.
It is unknown if Google Fit will be built into an upcoming version of Android, or released as a standalone app that users would be able to download. What is known is that the platform is expected to be announced at the Mountain View-based company’s Google I/O developers conference that runs June 25 – 26:
“Google has kept much of what it will announce at I/O under wraps but it has scheduled several developer sessions where it could conceivably talk about Google Fit. There is a session on ‘wearable computing with Google’ on Day 1, followed by ‘designing for wearables,’ and then the broader ‘Android and cloud’ session on Day 2.”
This is not Google’s first time working on a health platform. You may remember Google Health, the personalized health service that the company introduced in 2008 but discontinued on January 1st, 2012. The opt-in service allowed users to volunteer their health records to be merged into one central Google Health profile. Google axed the service because it did not feel it had the broad impact it had expected.
“Google Health never took off because consumers actually don’t want to aggregate their data,” says Derek Newell, CEO of digital health care platform Jiff. “They haven’t wanted to. What they want is information. They want meaning, rewards and a feedback loop.”
There is a possibility that Google could tie in this new health platform with Android Wear, which could be similar to what Apple might have planned with its oft-rumored iWatch and HealthKit platform. Google might have a leg up in the race though, considering that Android has nearly 80-percent global market share among mobile operating systems. While the iPhone is a top-selling smartphone in the United States, the global market share for iOS is only around the 15-percent mark.
One thing is for sure: the second half of this year looks like it could prove quite interesting in the tech landscape.
Do you think Google Fit could be useful?