Google is trying to get you off the couch by simplifying the look of its Fit app to measure just two things: how much you move and how well it is for your heart.
The company redesigned the app in collaboration with the American Heart Association and the World Health Organization to reflect both the amount of people moving each day and the intensity of that movement. It also looks more like Apple's activity app.
Google's revolution simplifies the tracking program, as it was first launched in 2014 as a competitor to Apple's HealthKit. Apple's three-ring design – which tracks and sets goals for daily motion, exercise and time spent – stands for closing these rings an obsession for some Apple Watch fans. So far, Google Fit has not attracted the same kind of affection.
Losing the health and fitness market is a priority for Apple and Google, who consider both motion and health tracking as an important selling point for their portable devices. It has also proved to be an important area of partnership among Google, Apple and the growing industry in health and wellness applications that rely on smartphone sensors to track activity.
Redesigned aims to make people move more and sit less, writes Margaret Hollendoner, senior product manager for Google Fit, in a company blog post. Unlike previous designs – such as tracks, running, riding and cycling as separate categories – there are now just two main goals. People will earn credit for each "moving memory" they log, which traces lower intensity movement like walking. Match rewards more stringent activities such as cycling, racing or other workouts with something called "Heart Points." A lower key training like a quick walk generates one point per minute while an intense training counts as two.
The company will use your phone or laptop to find out when on the go. "Google Fit automatically detects these activities using the phone or view sensors – such as accelerometer and GPS – to calculate the number of cardiac points you earn," said Hollendoner. People can also manually tell the app if they do activities that are harder to detect, such as pilates or gardening. The goal is to achieve an activity equivalent to at least 30 minutes of walking five days a week, in line with AHA and WHO recommendations.
As with the original Fit version, the app will be able to draw data from other, more popular fitness programs like the MyFitnessPal dieting app or drive tracker Strava.
Fit will be available to all Android devices and all watches that have Google's Wear OS, such as from Fossil, LG and Huawei. Those who use it already should see the changes that are taking place this week.