Google lures developers to its Fit platform with contest, free swag

google fit developer challenge
Credit: Google Developers

Google Fit looks great, but it launched with rather paltry developer support. The current kings of the fitness-tracking and wearable world like Fitbit and Jawbone don’t share the data with Google Fit, instead sticking to their own apps for tracking your health stats.

That’s bad news for Google, which wants its Fit app to be the all-in-one hub on Android for fitness and health data. To try to remedy this Google is running a contest, offering wearable swag and prime placement in the Play Store for new or updated apps that incorporate the Google Fit API. Interested devs should fill out the interest form and submit their final product by Feb. 17.

The top six new and updated apps get the featured Play Store treatment and several prizes, including an Android Wear watch, Adidas, Polar wearables, and a Withings smart scale. Google is hoping to get a ton of entries, as it’s offering prize batches in tiers to 150 new and updated app entries.

The story behind the story: While this contest may appeal to some independent developers to create clever apps, it’s unlikely to make the bigger companies budge. They have a successful market going and don’t want to jeopardize customers continuing to buy their own wearable gear. And they're certainly not going to be swayed by a few hundred bucks worth of free gear. Google is going to need to do more than throw a contest if it wants to get the likes of Fitbit and Jawbone to open up their ecosystems and connect with Google Fit.

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