Google To Launch Health Data Tracking Platform, Sources Say

June 16, 2014 in News

Google plans to unveil a new health data platform, called Google Fit, that will aggregate data from fitness and health-related applications, according to several sources with knowledge about the announcement, Forbes reports.

Google is expected to launch the platform at the Google I/O conference for developers on June 25 and 26. According to Forbes, the announcement will mark Google’s second foray into the health data tracking market, after the company shut down its Google Health portal in 2012 because of low consumer interest (Olson, Forbes, 6/12).

Google Fit Details

Google Fit will collect data from fitness and health apps through an open application programming interface, a set of coded instructions that let two applications share information (Sullivan, VentureBeat, 6/12). Google also is expected to announce several partnerships with wearable device manufacturers.

According to MobiHealthNews, Google could package the platform in several ways, including as:

  • A standalone app for Android;
  • An integrated part of its next operating system for Android;
  • An addition to Google Now, which in 2012 added activity tracking capabilities (Comstock, MobiHealthNews, 6/13); or
  • As a tie-in with Android Wear, which is a version of Google’s Android mobile operating system specifically designed for wearable devices, such as smart watches.

Product Competition

According to Forbes, the platform likely will be a direct competitor to Apple’s HealthKit, which was unveiled last week (Forbes, 6/12). Apple’s product — which includes both the HealthKit platform and a user-facing app called Health — will be bundled into Apple’s iOS8 software, which powers iPhones and iPads (iHealthBeat, 6/3).

Google Fit also will likely compete with Samsung’s Sami, a biometric data platform that similarly aggregates information from apps and devices (Forbes, 6/12).

According to VentureBeat, some industry observers have speculated that Apple, Google and Samsung are entering the health data tracking systems market because they have found a way to build platforms that do not fall under FDA’s regulatory authority for medical devices or health privacy laws (VentureBeat, 6/12).

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