YOU MOST LIKELY HAVE SEVERAL health and fitness applications on your smartphone, each of which can monitor a different aspect of your health and wellness, from the number of steps you take each day to your heart rate, from the amount of water you drink to the quality of sleep you get. However, it may be difficult to gain a bird’s eye view of all that data in one spot.
As a result, Google has released a new service called Google Health Connect, which syncs data from all of your health-related apps into a single location, accessible from any of your devices.
This service has entered its trademark beta phase for Google product releases: It’s still in progress, but you can begin using it now. To get the Android version of Health Connect, search for it in the Play Store. Sorry, (iOS isn’t supported.)
The Functioning of Google’s Health Connect
Note that Health Connect does not serve as a central location for all health-related needs. Instead, it lets you connect different fitness and wellness apps to one other, giving you the freedom to choose your preferred app(s) for compiling and presenting your data. So, rather than switching to a new app, you may stick with your current favourite and benefit from the information gathered by the others.
According to the Google Health blog, “whether you’re focused on activity or sleep, nutrition or vitals, sharing data between your apps can help you get a holistic view of your health and fitness and understand how your lifestyle behaviours impact it.” This “holistic view” is what Health Connect is all about. Health and fitness information need not be scattered across multiple databases.
Of course, this assumes that all of your fitness and wellness applications will play nicely with one another. Fortunately, many of them collaborate with Google and provide APIs so that Google (and by extension, you, via Google Health Connect) can access your fitness data.
If Google can convince a sufficient number of developers and service providers to join Health Connect, the project might see widespread adoption. Health Connect, developed in collaboration between Google and Samsung, will initially enable data sharing across Google Fit, Samsung Health, and Fitbit, which will be especially useful in light of Google’s 2019 acquisition of Fitbit.
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Everything from exercise to rest to diet to body measurements to vitals like blood pressure and heart rate is tracked. Users have complete discretion over which data types are included in the shared pool, and all data is encrypted and stored locally on users’ devices (rather than in the cloud).
Utilizing Google’s Health Connect
Install the beta version of Health Connect from Google Play on your Android device, launch it, and you’ll be able to start vetting the fitness and wellness apps you use to interact with it. Because Health Connect isn’t really an app, it won’t show up in the Android app drawer. You can launch it from the Quick Settings panel, the Apps section of Settings, or its Play Store page.
You may view the currently active Health Connect apps on the home page. To control which apps have access to Health Connect and which do not, select App permissions. The list of available apps will change depending on the software already installed on your device. You can also choose which types of data (such as steps) an app is allowed to send while specifying which types of data (such as heart rate) it is not.
There is a complete catalogue of Health Connect-compatible apps available right here. MyFitnessPal, Peloton, Oura (the creators of the Oura smart ring), and WeightWatchers are just some of the companies on the list with the aforementioned Google Fit, Samsung Health, and Fitbit.
While this isn’t the most extensive list, keep in mind that Health Connect is currently in beta and that it was built quickly. Some apps, such as Sleep as Android, have unofficially incorporated Health Connect compatibility despite not being on the official list.
To manage your information, return to the Health Connect home screen and click Data and access. The categories for which data is being collected will be displayed, and you’ll have the choice to manually remove it or set it to be deleted at a later date (after six months, for instance).
In circumstances when numerous apps are simultaneously recording the same sort of data (such as steps), you can dive into a specific category to remove specific batches of data; you can also check which apps have access to that category and pick an app that should be treated as the priority.
We’ve already established that Health Connect is only a way to connect the connections and not a place to view your data. But once you’ve configured your fitness feeds, you can open your preferred applications (like Google Fit or Fitbit) and view all of your data in one convenient location. Watch which apps have access to certain kinds of data (through App permissions) to ensure that all of your data is being fed into a single app.