Google is about to create a fitness empire as its Health Connect platform enters public beta.
Health Connect, a collaboration between Google and Samsung, first appeared in May with the goal, according to the developer team (opens in a new tab), of providing a greater understanding of a person's health through a platform that consolidates health data from multiple sources in one place. To make this easier, Google is also standardizing data sharing so that fitness apps can communicate with each other more easily. In this way, third-party developers no longer need to establish and maintain multiple API connections for their applications.
Currently, Health Connect only works with 10 health and fitness apps (opens in a new tab), including Fitbit, MyFitnessPal, Peloton, Oura, and Tonal. You can download the beta app (opens in a new tab) right now from the Google Play Store, but there won't be an app icon on your home screen. To open it, you'll need to locate Health Connect in the Settings menu of your Android phone.
Upon launching the platform, you will be prompted to allow supported third-party apps to open your fitness data in Health Connect. There are also granular controls to adjust what each health app shares. In our tests, we plugged in the Peloton app and found that it can offer heart rate data, but not total calories burned. You can revoke data sharing or remove any accrual at any time. And some features found in other apps will work with each other through Health Connect. For example, you can sync MyFitnessPal with Peloton and get "credit" for Peloton's workout plans.
Google says its platform supports more than 40 different types of data, which it displays in six categories (opens in a new tab): Activity, Body Measurement, Cycle Tracking, Nutrition, Sleep, and Vitals. With these, you can check your consistent sleep duration and even your basal metabolic rate, based on the information you input.
We reached out to Google to see if the company could tell us when Health Connect will officially launch. So far, nothing, not even a malicious leak, has hinted at a release date. When Health Connect comes out, we think the platform will be a game changer. Health and fitness apps often force people to switch between apps just to get the full picture. Under a Google-branded banner, we might see this clunky process fade away.
Lack of support
Considering Fitbit is one of the top 10 supported apps, we were surprised not to see compatibility with fitness trackers or smartwatches. It's especially strange given that Google recently released a new Pixel Watch (which turned out to be too generous in reporting how many calories people burn). Support for the device may come in a future update, but nothing is official yet.
However, we recommend going ahead in case the platform supports something like the Pixel Watch or Oura Ring. Be sure to check out our list of the best fitness trackers of the year to find the right gear for you.