Google Fit to Challenge Apple and Samsung in Health-Tracking Arena

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

Consumers will soon have yet another option when it comes to keeping track of their health and fitness data. According to unnamed insider sources cited by Forbes, Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) will soon be launching its own health data collection platform called Google Fit. The service will be unveiled at Google’s upcoming I/O developer conference that kicks off on June 25. Although Google has not officially confirmed the existence of Google Fit, the I/O conference schedule lists several workshops that could conceivably cover the introduction of Google Fit, including one titled “Wearable computing with Google” and another called “Designing for wearables.”

According to Forbes’s sources, Google Fit will offer open APIs, allowing it to collect health and fitness data from various third-party wearable tech devices and health-related apps. This open connectivity will let users manage their health data from multiple different sources. It is also likely that Google Fit will mesh closely with Android Wear, the operating system specifically designed for wearable tech devices that Google announced earlier this year. As noted by Forbes, this will be Google’s second attempt to establish a health data storage platform after it shut down Google Health in 2012.

Google Fit will be the third major health-tracking platform announced in as many weeks. Samsung (SSNLF.PK) announced its own health data platform called SAMI, or the Samsung Architecture Multimodal Interactions, at an event in San Francisco late last month, reports VentureBeat. Like the upcoming Google Fit, Samsung’s SAMI platform aggregates health data from wearable tech devices and health-tracking apps. Alongside SAMI, Samsung also unveiled a prototype wrist-worn health-tracking device called Simband that allows users to see various health data metrics in real time.

Although Samsung has long used Google’s Android operating system to run its smartphones and wearable tech products, the Korea-based company has recently been trying to lessen its reliance on Google by pushing its native Tizen operating system. Samsung introduced the Samsung Z — the first commercially available smartphone powered by the Tizen operating system — earlier this month. While the Samsung Z will initially only be available in Russia, the company has plans to expand the device’s availability to other markets.

Meanwhile, Samsung has already rolled out Tizen for its latest line of Gear wearable tech devices, reports TechCrunch. With Google Fit set to challenge Samsung in the health-tracking arena, the rift between Samsung and Google will likely become even larger.

Finally, Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) own recently announced HealthKit platform will compete with both Google Fit and SAMI. Like its rival health data storage platforms, Apple’s HealthKit will aggregate health-related data points into a central repository. HealthKit will store any data related to health, exercise, and diet that is collected by Apple’s associated Health app or third-party apps that users download. However, like all the products and services in Apple’s “walled garden” ecosystem, all of the third-party health apps must first be vetted by Apple. Apple’s system will become publicly available when iOS 8 launches sometime this fall.

Apple is also rumored to be launching its own Health-monitoring wearable tech device this fall. According to a recent report from Japan’s Nikkei, the so-called iWatch will feature non-invasive biometric sensors and a curved organic light-emitting diode (OLED) touchscreen. Nikkei’s sources also reported that the iWatch would be released in October. While it is difficult to predict which of these new platforms will ultimately find long-term success, it appears that consumers will at least have plenty of options this year when it comes to choosing the best health-tracking software for their needs.

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