Google Fit does not come preinstalled on your Pixel Watch but you can now install it yourself and ignore Fitbit. However, there is an important catch to be aware of.
The company’s long-awaited smartwatch is less than a month old. It comes with a streamlined designed, the latest WearOS software and Fitbit activity and health smarts.
If you are new to smartwatches you may be confused about the smartphone apps you need to install to keep your Pixel Watch happy. For starters there’s the Pixel Watch app. This is needed to connect to the timepiece and customise its settings. The old WearOS app is no longer needed for WearOS 3 watches.
Then we have separate software that manages health and fitness smarts. This is where it starts to get confusing.
Two apps fill the health functionality role
Google wants you to use the Fitbit app on your Android phone and watch. Because of this the software comes already installed on your Pixel Watch. You just need to install the Fitbit app on your phone in order to be able to view the activity statistics in more detail. There is a premium subscription, but most of the features you’ll need come free.
Essential reading: Top fitness trackers and health gadgets
Now we come to Google Fit. This is the old fitness platform that Google has exclusively used on its WearOS platform until now. It covers the basics quite well, although some say it lacks in certain respects. But many users have grown accustomed to using it.
Unlike the Fitbit app, Google Fit does not come pre-installed on your Pixel Watch. But you can install it yourself by going to the App Store on your watch. If you wish, you can even deactivate Fitbit on your watch only use Google Fit.
Having said that, when installing some people are getting the message that “Fit is not currently supported on this device, please check for future updates”. But others have installed the Google Fit software successfully.
There’s a catch
The problem with using Google Fit on your watch is that it is limited. The company has switched off continuous background heart rate measurements which makes it kind of useless. The only way to access heart rate measurements on Google Fit is to manually take a reading. This is probably due to Google’s terms when acquiring Fitbit. For the most part, the heart rate data may need to remain in the Fitbit app.
On the other hand it could be an oversight that will be fixed via a forthcoming firmware update. We certainly hope so. Or could have been done on purpose in order to get more people to transition over to the Fitbit app. Perhaps this is a way of phasing out Google Fit gradually. Maybe there are plans to merge the two apps into one service further down the line. It certainly would make sense.
Those who install both health apps will notice that some activities are tracked differently. For example, Google Fit seems better at picking up walks. So further work obviously needs to be done on both apps.
It is also worth mentioning for those who are on the Fitbit ecosystem, that the data does not sync directly to Google Fit. But there are apps that will do this for you. Health Sync and FitToFit are two examples that spring to mind.
A few users have also mentioned they are having problems syncing Fitbit data from the Pixel Watch to their smartphone. Simply update the Fitbit app on the watch through the Play Store at it should resolve.
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