Going head to head with Apple’s new Health app built into iOS 8, Google’s Android equivalent is a similar hub for all your health and fitness data. However, unlike its iOS rival, which merely collates data from third-party fitness apps, Google Fit also offers its own built-in tracking of three activities: walking, running and cycling. With the phone in your pocket – or Android Wear smartwatch or compatible fitness tracker on your wrist – it detects these automatically and, for walking and running, even counts the steps you make. If you forget to take your device with you, no problem: you can always manually add an activity later, along with figures for your weight and heart rate if you like.
A circular diagram for your daily exercise activity shows how much more you have to do in order to reach the daily goal (in terms of exercise time) you’ve set. After using the app for several days, it’ll suggest further goals for you to help you make progress. All your fitness activity, weight and heart rate data can be viewed on charts – covering a day, week or month – and also accessed via a web portal.
Since the app’s built-in fitness tracking is a bit limited, you may well want to link it up to compatible third-party apps. So far, these already include some big names such as Runtastic, Nike+ Running, Polar Beat, Withings and RunKeeper. No additional setup is required since any such apps installed on your phone will automatically sync with Google Fit so that you can view all your fitness data in one place. The types of data that can be shared include calories burned, pedalling rate, wheel speed, distance covered, heart rate, height, weight, power generated in a workout, steps taken and elevation, although app developers can also create their own custom types. So it’s all very flexible and Google Fit has a lot of potential.
Read more app reviews in the latest issue of Android Magazine.