This article has been updated to correct an error regarding Sara Hamilton's role at Google. She is a developer advocate, not the head of developer relations, which was stated in an earlier version of this post.
What you need to know
- Google has announced that the Health Connect app is now available in beta on the Play Store.
- The new app is designed to centralize access to health and fitness data on Android devices from across various apps.
- Users can store their fitness data in Health Connect and allow authorized service providers to access it.
Google attempted to solve the problem of gaining access to health and fitness data from various platforms and apps with the unveiling of Health Connect earlier this year. Today, Google finally rolled out an Android app for this service in beta.
Starting today, you can download the Health Connect app in beta from the Google Play Store. At launch, more than 10 health, fitness, and wellness apps will support Health Connect, including Fitbit, Samsung Health, MyFitnessPal, Oura, and Peloton.
For consumers, the app syncs health and fitness data from supported platforms and allows other apps to gain access to this data with their consent, of course. For example, if you own one of Fitbit's best fitness trackers and want to use MyFitnessPal to track your data, Health Connect allows you to do so. Previously, users had to grant each app individual data permissions.
For developers, the new app reduces the cost of building multiple API connections for data sharing between different apps. Prior to the launch of Health Connect, developers were limited in their ability to build an integration with a new app. These restrictions also limited users' ability to access this data for use in other apps.
"Now, with Health Connect, building an integration with a new app is as simple as reading in new data from Health Connect, rather than building a whole new integration," Sara Hamilton, a developer advocate at Google, wrote in a blog post (opens in new tab).
Health Connect's data schema supports more than 40 data types across six categories to ensure data consistency across apps. According to Google, the schema covers a wide range of use cases, from exercises to sleep tracking to vital signs.
If you don't trust Google's data practices, you might be hesitant to store your health and fitness data in a hub managed by Google. However, the search giant says that data is stored offline with granular controls for sensitive data.
Fitbit's most advanced tracker to date, with high-end sensors found on more expensive smartwatches, is the Charge 5. It has a new, refined design that is extremely comfortable and is sure to appeal to fashionistas.
Jay Bonggolto always keeps a nose for news. He has been writing about consumer tech and apps for as long as he can remember, and he has used a variety of Android phones since falling in love with Jelly Bean. Send him a direct message via Twitter or LinkedIn.
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