I test loads of health gadgets, from running watches to smart scales and more, and I’ve got about a million different apps on my phone for different things. You’re probably the same. You likely have one app for diet information, another for your fitness tracker, another for your running watch that you take on longer outings, another for your smart scales, and yet another to broadcast your run distances to all your friends. The problem with this is that, those apps don’t work together. If I measure my weight in one app, then tell a weight app that I’ve eaten 7 pizzas, then go on a 30-mile run, that weight app is going to be none the wiser. It won’t know my full health experience.
We didn’t hear anything about Health Connect at Google IO 2022, the company’s huge showcase for all its latest tech and software projects. That’s not entirely surprising given that we’d never heard of it before, but despite its minor introduction, this might be a significant new Android feature. It was announced in relative secrecy on the Android Developers blog as “a platform and API for Android app developers” to allow them to “securely access and exchange health and fitness data across Android devices.” In other words, it’s a method to make all of your health and fitness applications work together.
This is especially an issue if you change your fitness gadgets – you end up having to start your records all over again, something I do a lot since I test tech from loads of different brands. But not anymore. Thankfully, that not-exactly-truthful anecdote will soon be a thing of the past. In theory, Health Connect lets apps share all that information, so you can use just one app to see and monitor all your health stats and specs. Sounds useful, right? Well, lots of developers have already agreed to it. Samsung’s Health app and two Google apps, Google Fit and Fitbit, are the first to start using it, as well as third-party apps like MyFitnessPal, Leap Fitness and Withings. So there are some big names on board already, which likely means more will follow.
Don’t expect to reap the benefits of Health Connect straight away. The Android Developers’ blog is for… well, Android developers, so Google is still clearly aiming to get new developers on board. This likely means that it’ll be quite some time before you get to share your health stats between apps. Tom’s role in the TechRadar team is to specialize in phones and tablets, but he also takes on other tech like electric scooters, smartwatches, fitness, mobile gaming and more. He is based in London, UK. He graduated in American Literature and Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. Prior to working in TechRadar freelanced in tech, gaming and entertainment, and also spent many years working as a mixologist. Outside of TechRadar he works in film as a screenwriter, director and producer.
It’s not a totally novel idea – Garmin Connect, for instance, is able to absorb data from MyFitnessPal, a plethora of smart scales and smart water bottles and more to build a robust picture of everything that’s happening in your health-based world. But it doesn’t allow all data to be sucked in – for most things, you’ll need a Garmin device. This idea makes it all more universal, so all app developers can make their own rival to big titles like Garmin Connect.