At Google IO 2022, the company’s big showcase for all its new tech and software programs, we heard nothing about Health Connect. It’s not a complete surprise – we’ve never heard of it before – but despite being announced on a small scale, it could be a huge new Android feature.
Announced in relative secrecy on the Android Developer Blog, which the company says is “a platform and API for Android app developers”, to enable them “to securely access and share health and fitness data on Android devices”. Or, in other words, it’s a way to let all your health and fitness apps work in harmony.
I test loads of health gadgets, from running watches to smart scales and more, and I have about a million different apps on my phone for different things.
You are probably the same. You probably have an app for food information, another for your fitness tracker, another for your running watch that you take for longer runs, another for your smart scales, and yet another for Broadcast your race distances to all your friends.
The problem with this is that these apps don’t work together. If I measure my weight in an app, then tell a weight app I ate 7 pizzas, then go on a 30 mile run, that weight app will be none the wiser. He will not know my full health experience.
This is especially a problem if you change your fitness gadgets – you end up having to start your recordings over again, which I do a lot since testing technology from many different brands. But not anymore.
Fortunately, this not exactly true anecdote will soon be a thing of the past.
A suitable change
In theory, Health Connect allows apps to share all of this information, so you can use a single app to see and monitor all of your health stats and specs.
Sounds useful, right? Well, many developers have already accepted it. Samsung’s Health app and two Google apps, Google Fit and Fitbit, are the first to start using it, along with third-party apps like MyFitnessPal, Leap Fitness and Withings. So there are already big names on board, which probably means more will follow.
It’s not a totally new idea – Garmin Connect, for example, is able to ingest data from MyFitnessPal, a plethora of smart scales and smart water bottles and more to create a solid picture of everything is happening in your health-based world. But that doesn’t suck up all the data – for most things you’ll need a Garmin device.
This idea makes it all more universal, so all app developers can create their own rival with great titles like Garmin Connect.
Don’t expect to immediately experience the benefits of Health Connect. The Android Developer Blog is aimed at…well, Android developers, so Google is still clearly aiming to recruit new developers. This probably means that it will take some time before you can share your health stats between apps.