Google and Samsung have joined forces on a new platform and API (application programming interface) called Health Connect. Its aim is to allow for connecting and sharing data between different Android health and fitness apps and devices.
Why should you care? Because it might make your life easier.
Smartwatches, fitness bands, smart scales and other smart gear from different brands on your Android smartphone may use a variety of apps. Often, this software is not designed to speak to each other. Which means a lack of a central repository of health and fitness information or a holistic view.
Needless to say, this is a problem. Each manufacturer has their own way of collecting and storing data, their own privacy controls and this is creating a mess. Google and Samsung have set out to change this and bring some order to the Android app market. Step in Health Connect.
Health Connect – aims to harmonise connecting & sharing data
Simply put, Health Connect is a new platform and API for Android developers. It comes with a set of tools allowing developers to securely sync health data between different Android apps and devices. The API also aims to centralise privacy controls for Android users.
So regardless of which brand you are loyal to, the health and fitness data will be shareable with other platforms. This could be anything from MyFitnessPal to Samsung Health, Google Fit, Fitbit or the Withings app. All of these are adopting Health Connect. Developers can already get access to the common set of APIs, albeit as a limited, early access program. So it is still in Beta form.
Ultimately, Health Connect will support many health and fitness data types and categories. This includes activity, sleep, calories, body measurements, heart rate and much much more. At launch there will be over 50 data types.
Essential reading: Best fitness trackers and health gadgets
The way it works is that users will need to give permission for their data to be shared with Health Connect. Granular privacy controls are built into privacy settings providing users will full control. This will also allow them to see which apps are accessing their data. Everything is stored encrypted on-device and users will have the means to delete data and prioritise one source over another. The latter is important as you may have different devices and apps collecting the same data.
Developers will have the ability to build into their software a sync with Health Connect. This will allow them to securely read from and write data to the hub.
All in all, this is a welcome initiative. There is a plethora of different apps out there and each fulfils a particular need. Connecting and sharing data between these apps will greatly improve the user experience and offer better insights. Both the manufacturers and users win with this unified platform. It’s a great initiative that will ultimately allow for richer app experiences when it is officially launched later this year.
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