Google may join health data-tracking party with Google Fit

googlefitandroidmock1

Google is expected to follow Apple and Samsung into the growing trend of aggregating health and fitness data via mobile devices. During the company's Google I/O conference at the end of June, Google will announce a new service called Google Fit, according to Forbes.

Like Apple's newly announced HealthKit built into iOS 8 and Samsung's S Health app and upcoming SAMI platform, Google Fit would provide a repository of health data taken from various smartphone apps and wearable devices. It's unknown if Google Fit will be able to transfer health data to doctors and other medical providers the way HealthKit is designed to do.

To collect the data into one spot, Google plans on releasing new programming application interfaces for developers to access, Forbes says.

During the rumored Google Fit debut, Google may also announce partnerships with several wearable makers. It's also likely that Google's wearable platform Android Wear would integrate with Google Fit.

Forbes says it isn't clear whether Gear Fit will be a service built into the Android OS itself or a separate app you need to download. Given how other companies are handling it, the likely answer seems that it would be both a built-in feature and a downloadable app that acts like a repository of personal data.

Then again, Google may also build parts of the rumored Fit platform into Google Now. You can already get a monthly total of miles walked or biked from the just-in-time data delivery service.

The power of data

The big issue with Google will be how it handles personal health and fitness data pulled in from fitness trackers, blood pressure monitors, and other devices. The rumored Google Fit platform would store all your health data on company servers, but that means trusting Google with arguably the most personal data yet shared with the company.

The public has already said no to Google as a storehouse of medical data thanks to the failure of Google Health. First introduced in 2008 and shut down in 2012, Health failed for a number of reasons, including relatively poor user awareness about the service as well as privacy concerns.

Then again, a lot has changed since 2008 regarding the world's willingness to share private data with online companies. Concerns about government surveillance aside, people are sharing more information than ever about their health, including automatically tweeting their weight with Withings scales and logging every run with apps like Nike+ and RunKeeper.

Google Fit would also offer to store arguably less sensitive data than its predecessor—assuming the new platform is similar to the data shared in HealthKit and S Health.

With Google Health, the company was storing your actual medical records online, complete with  diagnoses from doctors and specialists as well as active prescriptions.

All health information may be important, but data about your colonoscopy or chemotherapy treatments seem far more sensitive than sharing that one-time spike in blood pressure from last week.

Google I/O begins on Wednesday, June 25. Check out Greenbot and Techhive Follow us for all the Google- and Android-flavored action during the conference.

Join the discussion
Be the first to comment on this article. Our Commenting Policies