Technology NewsHow Google combines fitness data from Samsung, Fitbit, and...

How Google combines fitness data from Samsung, Fitbit, and others

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If you’ve ever used multiple health and fitness tracking apps on your smartphone, then you’ll know about the pain of tracking across multiple apps with seemingly no interconnectivity. Apps like MyFitnessPal will sometimes be able to interface with other health apps to collect data, but that’s up to individual developers to support other individual platforms. For example, MyFitnessPal doesn’t have Mi Fit integration, but it does support Google Fit, so you connect Mi Fit to Google Fit and then Google Fit to MyFitnessPal. It’s a nightmare for anyone who uses multiple apps, but Google has a solution: Health Connect.


There are countless health-tracking apps on Android, but not every single app will cover every single vital that you may want to track. Apps can and do elect to share data individually with other apps, but previously, there was no one API that health apps could leverage to share data. Health Connect is Google’s answer to the problem, as it acts as an intermediary for these tracking apps to share data with each other. If MyFitnessPal wants to take data from Samsung Health, Fitbit, and Google Fit, it previously needed to interface directly with each of these apps. In this case, it only needs to connect to Health Connect, and Health Connect will handle all of those connections for it.

Health Connect was announced at Google I/O and has recently been rolled out to users on the Google Play Store. It consists of an SDK that developers can incorporate into their apps and a user-facing application that controls permissions and data management.


What apps support Health Connect?

Health Connect is still in beta, but there is a slowly growing list of apps that supports the API. The list below is the list of all apps that support Health Connect at the time of writing.

  • HealthifyMe
  • Fitbit
  • Samsung Health
  • Google Fit
  • MyFitnessPal
  • Oura
  • Flo
  • Lifesum
  • Outdooractive
  • Proov Insight

Apps that support the Health Connect API also must comply with strict data rules for handling and processing personal user data.

How does Health Connect work?

Health Connect works by creating a singular SDK that health apps need to connect to rather than sharing that data with individually supported applications. Any app that supports Health Connect can understand data collected from any of the other apps that it opts into collecting, so long as those apps have been given permission to share and read data through the Health Connect API.

Understanding how the API works is fairly simple thanks to Google’s own documentation at Google I/O.

health-connect-common-api-structure

As per the above diagram (taken from Google’s introduction of Health Connect at Google I/O), apps that collect data can interface with Health Connect and allow it to control all of the permissions and data that is shared across other apps on the user’s phone. This means that you can use an app that specializes in sleep tracking, for example, and another app that specializes in workout training, and then combine that data in a holistic manner in another, third app that gives you an overview of all of your vitals. It’s not something that exists yet, but it’s something that can now exist that couldn’t previously.

For example, MyFitnessPal says that it currently syncs the following information for other apps to be able to read and process, too:

  • Calorie consumption
  • Steps
  • Cardio
  • Water consumption

For example, in the case of cardio, MyFitnessPal will share your cardio exercise with Health Connect if you enter it into the app. If you enter your cardio exercise into another app, then that data will be shared from Health Connect to MyFitnessPal. All data is stored locally with respect to Health Connect, and it’s up to the apps utilizing the SDK what they do with the data afterward.

When can I use Health Connect?

Health Connect is available for users already, and you can use it with any of the above supported applications. It’s in beta currently though it works quite well already It looks like Google aims to pre-install Health Connect on Android devices though, and possibly as soon as Android 14, according to a recent report from Esper. Google already stated that it was going to pre-install it on some Android devices, and with Android 13 QPR2 on Google Pixels, Google included a Health Connect stub package.

As explained by Esper, a commit spotted on the AOSP Gerrit suggests that Health Connect may be turned into a Project Mainline module. This is backed up by the fact that a Googler showed “com.android.healthconnect” as an APEX module (the format used by Mainline) in system_server. It’s up in the air exactly what way Google will incorporate Health Connect in a future Android version, but it looks likely that we’ll see it included in Android 14 in some way.

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