Google Fit gets ready to take on the Apple Watch

Faith Castro
August 22, 2018

The science is there, but keeping users engaged has proven to be a major problem, said Margaret Hollendoner, senior product manager for Google Fit: A large number of users interact more intermittently, and engagement tends to drop off fast. With the new Fit, Google is focusing on two primary areas: Move Minutes and Heart Points. "Google Fit will automatically detect these activities using your phone or watch sensors - like the accelerometer and Global Positioning System - to estimate the number of Heart Points you earn", Hollendoner said.

Once you've recorded a certain amount of information, the intention is Google Fit will start to give you tips on where you can fit exercise into your day or how you can increase your heart rate at certain points in your day.

Both Apple and Google are also taking steps to improve wellbeing and cut smartphone usage by introducing new screen time tools to help users track their phone use habits and cut down where necessary. To improve its official Android health and fitness app, Google has redesigned Fit from the ground up. There's a lot to take in, but the biggest change you'll notice at first are the new visuals.

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Technology firms have become increasingly health-conscious in recent years, with fitness tracking apps, wristbands and smartwatches growing in popularity.

'You'll score one point for each minute of moderate activity, like picking up the pace while walking your dog, and double points for more intense activities like running or kickboxing. You can also manually choose activities such as gardening, pilates, rowing, or spinning in the app. The goal is to hit an amount of activity equivalent to at least 30 minutes of brisk walking five days a week, in line with AHA and World Health Organization recommendations. Instead it will live inside the Wear OS app, where you'll be able to see the same overview of your activity, but won't be able to log workouts without a Wear OS smartwatch. The platform will also integrate with other health and fitness apps, including MyFitnessPal, Endomondo, Runkeeper, and Strava. The update will be rolling out to all devices - Android, iOS and Wear OS - this week.

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