Google Fit redesign puts the focus back on step count

Google Fit is getting a makeover which will see a refocus on steps instead of move minutes, new tiles and a design refresh.

Essential readingTop fitness trackers and health gadgets

This is a bit of an about-turn. About a year and a half ago, the tech giant ditched the step count in favour of Move Minutes and Heart Points. This was to reflect the American Heart Association and World Health Organization recommendations for weekly physical activity.

But now Google is saying that it makes more sense to put the focus back on steps instead of Move Minutes. The metric is easier to understand for the average person, especially someone new to the world of fitness tracking. The debate on whether a step goal really is the best gauge of your physical activity has been going on for years, and there’s no simple answer.

“Move minutes won’t be going away though and you’ll still be able to track the time you’ve been active in the app,” Google writes on its website.

“Whether you track steps or Move minutes, the important thing for your health is to remember to keep moving throughout the day.”

After this update, the two rings on the watch and in the app show your steps and Heart Points. Similar to the Apple Watch, the rings fill as you move towards your activity goals.

google fit redesign puts more focus on steps 1008x1024 - Google Fit redesign puts the focus back on step countThe dedicated Tile for Heart Points has also been upgraded. It is now easier to see how close you are to the 150 points you should be striving for on a weekly basis.

To earn points you’ll need to get your heart pumping. Just picking up pace when walking your dog will earn you points, more intense activities will earn you double-the points. The metric tallies nicely with AHA’s recommendations that people should strive for at least 30 minutes of brisk walking five days a week.

Google has also introduced tiles for workout and health. You can start an exercise straight from these, and check in on progress towards your daily and weekly goals.

Some other devices use similar measurements. Vancouver-based PAI, for example, has taken a novel approach with its own Personal Activity Intelligence (PAI) index. This provides you with a personalised target score which reflects your body’s response to physical activity based on heart rate. A number of Amazfit watches have adopted this metric.

Other changes that come as part of the latest Google Fit update include new celebrations when goals are met, bolder fonts and an overall brighter design. These are small changes but should make using the software more enjoyable.

To remind, the Google Fit app finally arrived to the iPhone in April 2019. That’s some four years after its Android launch. It works with Wear OS watches and can also link to Apple Health.

The new update has started rolling out this week but may take a few days to reach everyone. The Google Fit app can be downloaded from the Google Play Store and Apple Store.

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